March 17th, 2018

US retail sales fell 0.1 per cent in February

By Josh Boak, The Associated Press on March 14, 2018.

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers spent less at auto dealers, gas stations and department stores in February, causing overall retail sales to slip 0.1 per cent.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales have declined for the past three months, but they’re still 4 per cent higher from a year ago. Shoppers have opened 2018 with a cold spell after robust spending gains in the months leading up to the holidays.

Auto sales fell 0.9 per cent last month, while purchases at gas stations tumbled 1.2 per cent. Sales at department stores declined 0.9 per cent.

But spending at online and catalogue retailers climbed, as did spending at building materials stores, restaurants and clothiers to offset much of the decline elsewhere.

The report seems to contradict some of the optimism among retailers, which added 50,300 jobs in February.

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