US Retail Sales Decline For Third Straight Month
Sales in U.S. retail and food stores unexpectedly decreased 0.6 percent from the previous month, following a 0.8 percent drop in January as cold weather kept consumers from shopping malls and car dealers.
It was the first time since 2012 that sales had dropped for three consecutive months.
In February, retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services were unchanged after a 0.1 percent decline in the previous month.
Eight of 13 major categories showed declines in February while one remained flat. Car sales dropped 2.5 percent after rising 0.5 percent in January. Receipts at building material and garden equipment stores fell 2.3 percent and sales at restaurants and bars slipped 0.6 percent. There were also declines in furniture and electronic and appliances sales. Sales at clothing stores were flat.
In contrast, sales at gasoline stations rose 1.5 percent compared to 9.8 percent drop in January lifted by a recent rise in gasoline prices. Receipts at online stores climbed 2.2 percent and sales at sporting goods and hobby shops increased 2.3 percent.
3/12/2015 1:04:29 PM