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Retail sales - a measure of consumer spending at stores, restaurants and websites - decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in June from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.1-percent rise.
Retail sales had declined a revised 0.1 percent in May. It was the first back-to-back sales drop since July and August 2016.
Friday’s report was “soft, though not calamitous,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. He said in a note to clients he still expects a future rebound in the sales data, “but our patience is being tested.” Excluding autos, sales were down 0.2 percent last month; economists had expected a 0.2-percent gain. Excluding both autos and gasoline, sales fell 0.1 percent in June, the first decline for the measure in nearly a year.
In the second quarter, total retail sales were up just 0.2 percent from the first three months of the year. Overall retail sales rose 3.9 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier, well outpacing the recent trend for consumer-price inflation.
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