Sales for the month reached $421.4 billion, which is a 4.6 percent gain over February 2012, the bureau said.
For the three-month period ending in February, sales were up 4.5 percent compared to December through February a year earlier.
The reported sales gain of 0.1 percent in December was revised to 0.2 percent.
The Census Bureau said month-to-month sales growth from non-store sources -- Internet and catalog sales -- continued to outpace brick-and-mortar stores with a month-to-month gain of 1.6 percent in February, compared with a drop of 1.6 percent in furniture stores, a 0.2 percent slip at electronics stores and a 1 percent slip in sales at department stores.
The gains leader in February was gasoline station sales, which jumped 5 percent month-to-month. The second steepest rise was in miscellaneous store retailers, where sales rose 1.9 percent.
On a 12-month basis, sales were up 15.7 percent at non-store retail firms, followed by a 7.8 percent gain in automobile sales and a 6.6 percent gain at miscellaneous retailers.