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Consumer spending on the rise

Rising sales numbers are good news for those in the business world, and February's retail numbers mark a significant improvement for entrepreneurs. Company owners and management teams need to prepare for in influx of business, if last month's trends continue, and get ready to implement stronger currency management practices.

Spending jumps, beats expectations
New data from the Commerce Department revealed retail sales jumped 1.1 percent in February. A MarketWatch poll of economists predicted sales would rise only 0.7 percent. This marks the most significant leap in five months, hinting consumers are eager to spend.

Economists, politicians and business professionals were worried customer spending would be hindered by higher payroll taxes that took more of employee paychecks, skyrocketing gas prices and economic uncertainty over the government sequester. However, those aspects don't appear to have had much of an impact on February retail numbers.

What accounted for the rise in retail spending
Gas station purchases were one big cause of the improved February retail sales numbers, according to the data. Purchases at these facilities shot up 5 percent, the most significant jump seen since sales rose 6 percent in August 2012. Increased purchases at gas stations weren't the only aspect that drove consumer spending up. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 0.5 percent and transactions at grocery stores increased by 0.8 percent.

The strong February employment numbers could also have had an impact on retail spending. The economy added 236,000 jobs last month and this increase may have led to more purchasing power for workers who recently found new positions, causing them to spend more and spur economic growth.

Small businesses need to prepare for an increase in sales
While some small retailers and businesspeople may think the future of the economy is uncertain, they still need to take the initiative to prepare for an additional jump in sales after seeing February's strong numbers. Without taking the steps to get ready, entrepreneurs could find themselves without a proper cash management system that is able to handle more transactions and customer spending.

Without the most efficient systems and technologies, such as money counters, managers may find they're spending more time closing out cash drawers and determining revenue at the end of each day. As sales continue to rise with the improving economy, this could become more of a problem for retail professionals and cost them valuable time each day. In order for them to better handle sales, count cash and checks more quickly and have stronger office procedures, they may find it beneficial to invest in the latest devices that can help streamline processes.

March 20, 2013