Retail sales fell 0.9% in May to, the biggest drop since November, after a strong 1.2% advance the month before, the Commerce Department reported. Consumers trimmed spending on cars, clothes, and building and garden supplies.
Sales at automobile dealerships fell 2.5 percent in May, the Commerce Department reported. Gasoline stations sales dropped 3.1%, reflecting lower prices at the pump. At clothing stores, sales fell 2.8%. Building and garden supply stores saw sales fall 0.4%. Sales at general merchandise stores, including department stores, went down 0.9%.
Excluding sales of automobiles and gasoline, retailers saw a 0.1 percent sales decline last month.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that wholesale prices fell 0.4 percent in May, after dropping 0.2% in April. Last month’s decline, the biggest since December, was led by lower costs for gasoline and other energy products. Excluding volatile energy and food prices, the “core” rate of inflation at the wholesale level, was flat in May, after edging up 0.1% the month before.