U.S. Retail Sales Fall Unexpectedly in March
U.S. retail sales fell in March as households cutback on purchases of automobiles. This raised concerns that consumer spending is losing pace.
The Commerce Department figures showed retail sales dropped 0.3 percent last month after being unchanged in February. Retail sales excluding gasoline, building materials and food services went up 0.1 percent after an upwardly revised 0.1 percent gain in February.
According to the report the decrease was caused by the biggest decline in demand for automobiles in a year. Cutbacks at Internet merchants, restaurants and clothing stores were also held responsible.
Healthy consumer spending is needed to sustain the economy. Only than the effects of low exports and poor manufacturing sector will be minimized. This is much needed especially during current unstable oil prices and global slowdown.
“We’re having a little bit of a soft patch here for the consumer, with no obvious rationale,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. “It’s definitely a softer start to the year. Provided job gains remain as strong as they’ve been, we expect consumer spending should be OK.”