U.S. Retail Sales fall in February

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According to data released by the Commerce Department, U.S. retail sales fell in February for a third straight month unexpectedly.

According to the Commerce Department, overall retail sales dropped 0.1% in February, which was because U.S. consumers spent less at gas stations, auto dealers and department stores. However, the result was still 4% higher compared with result of last year.

“There’s clearly some buyers’ strike going on in the last couple of months, but we know that consumer fundamentals are incredibly sound,” said Tom Porcelli, the chief U.S. economist of RBC Capital Markets. “People may be surprised by the weaker numbers here but it’s par for the course after a stronger fourth quarter.”

In February, seven of 13 major retail categories showed declines. Sales at gas stations dropped 1.2%, and sales at auto dealers were down 0.9%, which is the second straight month with such a number. At the same time, sales at department stores dropped 0.9%. On the contrary to the decline of traditional stores, spending at online retailers jumped.

In addition, according to the figure, furniture and home furnishing stores, electronics and appliance vendors, food and beverage sellers and health and personal care stores also showed lower demand in the last month.

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