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U.S. Retail Sales Fall as Consumers Pulling Back

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July 15, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Americans curtailed their shopping in June, with less spending at restaurants, department stores and gasoline stations. The spending pullback came despite a healthy job market and suggests that economic growth could remain sluggish.

The Associated Press reported that retail sales fell 0.2% after declining 0.1% in May, the Commerce Department said Friday (July 14). Spending at retailers has grown 2.8% over the past 12 months, a relatively modest pace given that the sales figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

The decline reflects in part a transformative shift by consumers toward Amazon and other online retailers. Sales at department stores, once the anchors of shopping malls and the pride of local communities, have dwindled. The rise of online shopping has left more retailers competing on price or striving to offer deeper discounts — factors that can limit overall sales figures.

Even former sources of strength in retail, like restaurants and auto dealers, have faced weakening sales in recent months.

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