US retail sales drop 1.3% in May

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Washington

US retail sales fell 1.3 percent in May, the government said Tuesday, with consumers pulling back from spending on an array of goods as the world’s largest economy recovers from the pandemic.

The decline was more than double the median forecast, and reflected sharp drops in everything from building materials to electronics to motor vehicles, according to the Commerce Department data.

Government stimulus payments approved last March caused a retail sales boom that month, and the data revised April’s reading from initially being flat to showing 0.9 percent growth.

“We expect the underlying upward trend in core sales to re-emerge (in June) as the drag from the end of the stimulus payments fades and the continued reopening persuades people to start running down some of their huge pile of accumulated savings,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said of the May data.—APP

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