14 May 2003, 16:43  US retail sales ease unexpectedly in April

WASHINGTON, May 14 - U.S. retail sales fell unexpectedly in April with sales excluding autos posting their biggest drop since September 2001, the government said on Wednesday, raising questions about eagerness of American consumers to shop. Some of the slip stemmed from a fall in gasoline prices, which depressed the dollar value of the amount of goods Americans purchased, and the Iraq war may have added to consumer uncertainty. The latest report from the Commerce Department showed soggy demand at clothing stores, furniture shops and other retail outlets, although strong car sales helped to offset some of that weakness. Total retail purchases slid 0.1 percent in April in contrast to the predictions of U.S. economists in a survey who expected sales to rise by 0.4 percent. In the closely watched category of sales excluding automobiles, purchases slumped 0.9 percent, the biggest drop since a 1.2 percent fall when the Sept. 11 attacks dealt a sudden and harsh blow to retail sales.
However, stripping out gasoline, total retail sales rose by 0.4 percent. In another positive sign, retail sales for March were revised upward to a 2.3 percent gain from a previously reported 2.1 percent rise. March sales excluding automobiles were bumped higher to a 1.5 percent rise following a previously stated 1.2 percent increase. The latest Commerce Department data dovetailed with reports from big retailers who have reported that chilly spring weather helped put a damper on sales of seasonal merchandise like Easter dresses and warm-weather clothing.//

© 1999-2022 Forex EuroClub
All rights reserved