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Third Straight Drop for Retail Sales

Gas prices fall, but consumers also cut spending in most other categories.

Retail sales slipped 0.5% from May to June, the Commerce Department said Monday--the third month in a row that retail sales have fallen.

A consecutive three-month decline in retail sales hasn't occurred since 2008--when the financial crisis was at its height, according to The Associated Press. Analysts had expected retail sales to rise 0.2%, according a poll by Reuters

Nine out of 13 major retail sales categories showed a decline in June. Some of the biggest declines came at gas stations, where prices have been falling, but only around 0.2% of the 0.5% drop was accounted for by gas price declines, the AP reported. Consumers also spent less at building supply, sporting goods and book and music stores, among others. Sales actually increased slightly at grocery stores and clothing stores.

A weak job market is to blame for Americans' cut in retail spending, Bloomberg reports. The poor market decreased consumer confidence and took away income gains necessary to increase household expenditures, which account for about 70% of the economy.

"People are just pulling back, and you're not likely to see a significant pickup from here," Michael Carey, chief economist for North America at Credit Agricole CIB in New York, told Bloomberg.

Last updated: Jul 16, 2012


Caitlin Berens writes about business innovation and entrepreneurs. Before Inc., she worked at Billboard, SELF, and Better Homes and Gardens. She attended Drake University, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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