The sequential change in sales into the first week of February leaves much to be desired. The chart below (ICSC Retail Sales Data) allows us to layer the current year's sales trajectory over what we saw in 2012, 2011, and 2010. What we're seeing in 2013 is nothing to write home about. Perhaps we saw a negative impact from the storm that hit the East coast -- though we could have very well argued the opposite should have taken place.
Its only one data point for the first quarter of the new retail year -- so let's not get too bent out of shape over it. But after a promotional-driven January with decelerating spending towards the back of the month, the data (outlined by the red line in the chart) suggests that the underlying cadence of consumer spending has not changed meaningfully.
ICSC Sales Index By Year