US retail sales declined 0.2 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales fell in February, as consumers pulled back their spending on building materials, groceries, furniture, electronics and clothing declined amid signs of a slowing economy.

The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales fell 0.2 percent in February, after posting an upwardly revised gain 0.7 percent in January. Over the past year, retail sales have roughly kept pace with inflation by increasing a slight 2.2 percent.

The recent dip in consumer spending suggests that more Americans are anticipating a weaker economy this year, as global growth has declined and the stimulus from President Donald Trump’s tax cuts at the end of 2017 are waning.

Sales at building materials stores plunged 4.4 percent in February. Electronics retailers and grocers posted declines of more than 1 percent.

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