U.S. Shoppers faced with snow storms, job cuts, and war
worries were tightfisted in February, driving down sales at retailers by the largest amount in 15 months.
The latest snapshot of retail activity released by the U.S. Commerce Department added to fears the economy could slide back into a new recession, economists said.
Retail sales fell 1.6 percent from the previous month, with weakness widespread. Building and garden supply stores posted a record drop. February's performance was weaker than analysts expected and marked a big pullback by consumers from January, when sales rose by 0.3 percent.
The 1.6 percent decline in retail sales was the biggest since November 2001, when the economy was still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks.
Excluding sales of automobiles, which can swing widely from month to month, overall retail sales fell by 1 percent in February, a weaker showing than economists were forecasting. At furniture stores, sales fell by 1.6 percent in February from the
previous month. Building and garden supply stores saw sales plunge by a record 7.5 percent. Sales of electronics and home appliances went down by 0.5 percent. (Associated Press)
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