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Retailing Decline Is Steepest in 10 Months

May 14, 1997|(Reuters)

Retail sales fell at the steepest rate in 10 months in April, the Commerce Department said, as consumers spent less on cars, clothes and other items in what could be a key sign of slower economic growth. Total retail sales fell 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted $212.2 billion--the biggest decline since a 0.5% drop last June--after sales were unchanged in March. The department had previously estimated that sales rose 0.1% in March. Cold, rainy weather in many regions helped fuel the decline. The broad-based April decline came after other reports have pointed to slower spending by consumers, whose purchases of goods and services fuel two-thirds of the economy.

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