Updated from 8:15 a.m. ESTWeak February sales results from retailers Thursday reignited concerns about the health of consumer spending, after a big snowstorm in the Northeast helped to bury the previous month's momentum. Ken Perkins, president of market-research firm Retail Metrics, said 62% of the retailers that make up his firm's sales index missed expectations. That marked the first time a majority of companies in the index have missed monthly estimates since last July. "There was clear weakness in the teen apparel space, with Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF), Hot Topic ( HOTT), Pacific Sunwear ( PSUN) and Aeropostale ( ARO) all missing estimates," Perkins says. "That's the weakest performance by them in over 18 months. On the other hand, the bulk of the department stores did a bit better than expected, and the discounters fared relatively well also." Perkins' overall index, which tracks results from more than 60 national chains, met expectations, with a gain of 3.1% over last year. "It's a bit of a fluke, since the index is chain-weighted and larger retailers did okay," Perkins says. "Considering all the shortfalls though, I think you have to characterize the month as a disappointment." Richard Hastings, a retail analyst with Bernard Sands, says some retailers made tactical mistakes managing their inventories after a stretch of unseasonably warm weather in January. "Many apparel retailers tried to decrease inventory levels to avoid price erosion on winter clearances," Hastings says. "The assortments weren't there when cold weather snapped back and shoppers were looking for something other than a bikini to match their mittens." Recent data also suggest that economics may have played a role in the disappointments, as consumer confidence fell more than expected in February on concerns about fuel prices and the job market. Meanwhile, the housing market continues to show signs of slowing as interest rates rise.