Consumer spending weakened again in February as U.S. retail sales fell 0.6%, the Commerce Department reported. Most kinds of retail stores reported lower seasonally adjusted sales in February even before the impact of inflation was counted. Retail sales were up 2.6% compared with a year earlier in nominal terms. Sales in November and December were also revised lower on balance by 0.2%. Sales fell 0.7% in December and rose 0.4% in January. Over the past three months, sales were down 0.1% compared with the previous three months.
Sales of durable goods were particularly weak in February. For example, sales at furniture stores fell 0.5%. Sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 0.4%. Sales at hardware and garden stores fell 0.7%. (AP)