U.S. consumers spent less at auto dealers, gas stations and department stores in February, causing overall retail sales to slip 0.1 percent despite signs elsewhere of a robust economy and the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump starting to take effect.
It was the third consecutive month of declining retail sales, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, though they're still 4 percent 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. The core retail sales that economists monitor — which exclude autos, building materials, gasoline and restaurants — improved a mere 0.1 percent in February after essentially being flat in January.. . . more