WASHINGTON - Retail sales dropped 0.2% to $404.6 billion in May after declining a revised 0.2% in April, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
The May slide matched the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a 0.2% median decrease. April's mark was originally reported as a 0.1% increase.
On a year-over-year unadjusted basis, retail sales were up 5.3% compared to May 2011.
Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.4% in May after dropping 0.3 % in April. The economists had projected retail sales excluding autos would be unchanged in May.
Excluding autos and gas, retail sales fell 0.1% in May following a 0.1% decline the previous month. Excluding autos, gas, and building materials, retail sales went up 0.3% in May after remaining unchanged in April.
A 2.2% drop in retail gasoline sales led the decline in overall retail sales, and building equipment and garden equipment and supplies dealers saw sales dip 1.7%. The gasoline sales decline was the largest since a reversal of the same size in December. Those losses were too large to be offset by strong sales from non-store retailers and electronics and appliance stores.