In February of this year, the National Retail Federation predicted annual U.S. retail sales growth between 4%-6% for 2023, with non-store and online sales expected to grow between 10%-12%. This is lower than the 7% growth seen in 2022, but higher than the pre-pandemic average of 3.6%. There was also a surge of CEO departures in February, with 167 exits, up 49% from the prior month and 11% higher than the year-earlier total. Lastly, pending home sales rose for the third consecutive month in February, with existing single-family deals under contract posting a 0.8% increase from January. Mortgage applications were also up 2.9% from the prior week, as mortgage rates declined.