WASHINGTON — Retail sales dropped a greater-than-expected 0.5% in June to post their first consecutive monthly decline since early last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Retail sales excluding autos dipped just 0.1%.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected that total retail sales would fall 0.2% and that sales excluding autos would be flat. The headline June 0.5% decrease followed a revised 1.1% decline in May that was originally reported as a 1.2% drop, while the 0.1% ex-autos dip followed a 1.2% decrease originally reported as a 1.1% decline.
Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Securities America Inc., said in a research note that the contraction was led by weaker sales at building supply stores and at gasoline stations, which resulted from reduced fuel prices.
“The data still suggest growth in real consumer spending of 2% to 2.5% in Q2,” Moran said, noting that such a gain is consistent with the past few quarters.