NEW YORK (AP) — America’s consumers trimmed their spending in February after a buying burst in January, underscoring the volatility of the economic environment.
The government said Wednesday that retail sales slipped 0.4% after jumping a revised 3.2% in January, helped by an increase in auto sales. Retail sales were down in November and December, the critical holiday period.
The February retail sales figure was weighed down by a 1.8% drop in auto sales as well as declines at restaurants and stores selling furniture and clothing. Excluding autos, sales slipped 0.1% from January, according to the Commerce Department.
Sales at furniture stores fell 2.5%, while business at restaurants declined 2.2% in February from January. Sales at department stores slid 4%. But shoppers spent more online and at electronics stores, health and beauty stores and food retailers, according to the report.
Shoppers remain relatively resilient, getting a boost from a strong