Low gas prices drag down US retail sales in February
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales slipped last month, pulled down by sharply lower gas prices, and Americans spent much less in January than previously estimated. The figures suggest that consumers remain cautious about spending despite steady hiring.
The Commerce Department says retail sales fell 0.1 percent in February. Excluding the volatile gas and auto categories, sales rose 0.3 percent. Overall sales were revised sharply lower in January, from a 0.2 percent gain to a drop of 0.4 percent.
Americans' reluctance to open their wallets could hold back growth in the first three months of this year. Economists had hoped that solid hiring and lower gas prices would entice consumers to spend more, yet Americans seem to be pocketing much of the savings from cheaper gas.