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U.S. Retail Sales Dip 0.2% In March Amid Lower Auto Sales

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Partly reflecting a notable decrease in auto sales, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a modest drop in U.S. retail sales in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said retail sales dipped by 0.2 percent in March after a revised 0.3 percent decline in February.

Economists had expected sales to edge down by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.1 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The decrease in retail sales came as sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers slumped by 1.2 percent in March tumbling by 1.5 percent in February.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales came in unchanged for the second consecutive month. Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

The report showed notable growth in sales by electronic and appliance stores, miscellaneous store retailers and clothing and accessories stores.

However, the increases were offset by significant declines in sales by building material and supplies dealers and gas stations.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food service, climbed by 0.5 percent in March after slipping by 0.2 percent in February.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales in March were up by 5.2 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

by RTT Staff Writer

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