US retail sales fall for a second month

Shoppers in New York
Image caption Consumer spending accounts for two thirds of the US economy

US retail sales fell again in June, hit by a drop in sales of petrol, cars and building materials.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales fell by 0.5% in June, following a downwardly revised 1.1% fall in May.

Compared with June last year, sales were 4.8% higher.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the US economy, and the weak figures come on top of disappointing home sales and factory activity data.

Much of the weakness came from a fall in car sales and a drop in petrol prices.

Excluding these two criteria, sales would have risen by a slight 0.1% in June.

Markets had expected sales, excluding cars, to be flat and there was no adverse market response.

Takings at sporting goods, hobby and book stores fell 1.4% in June, compared with a 0.3% rise in May.

However, purchases at electronics and appliance stores were up by 1.3% and clothing sales rose 0.6%.

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