U.S. Retail Sales Fell in |March on Auto Weakness

     (CN) – U.S. retail sales fell in March as Americans bought fewer cars, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday.
     The 2.1 percent decline in auto sales was the sharpest such down turn in more than a year. The agency said, while the drop in vehicle purchases accounted for much of the slackness in overall retail sales, it was accompanied by a weakening in online and catalog sales as well as in sales of clothing and at restaurants.
     On the other hand, the department said, March saw a 1.4 percent increase in sales at home supply stores, and growth in electronics, health and furniture sales.
     The department issues a report on U.S. retail sales every month. Analysts say spending by consumers accounts for roughly 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

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