Retail Sales Unexpectedly Fall as U.S. Consumers Scrimp
Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell in March, raising concern consumer spending is losing momentum.
The 0.3 percent drop in purchases followed little change the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent gain. The decrease was led by the biggest drop in demand for autos in a year, and cutbacks at clothing stores, internet merchants and restaurants. Sustained gains in consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, are needed at a time exports are still depressed by cooling global markets and U.S. manufacturing is barely emerging from a slump.