Amid record-high gas prices, retail sales dropped by 0.2 percent to $372 billion in April, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.

Excluding sales at gas station, retail sales fell 0.4 percent, the report said.

The declines included fewer sales at clothing stores, department stores, restaurants, and garden centers, among other outlets.

Chain store sales also declined in March, driven down by bad weather, the International Council of Shopping Centers said in a separate report on Tuesday.

Retail sales account for roughly half of all consumer spending, which is a main driver of economic growth.

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Published on: May 11, 2007