WASHINGTON — Retail sales dipped 0.4% to $418.3 billion in March after rising a revised 1% in February, originally reported as a 1.1% increase, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
March sales were weaker than the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who expected the figure to remain unchanged from the prior month. The 0.4% slide was the largest decline since a 0.7% dip between May and June 2012.
On a year-over-year unadjusted basis, retail sales were up 2.8%.
Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.4% in March after a revised 1% gain in February. That March decline also surprised economists, who had estimated a 0.1% increase.
Excluding autos and gas, retail sales slipped 0.1% in March following a revised 0.3% increase the previous month.