The U.S. Commerce Department said that U.S. retail sales fell 0.4% in April – a number economists called “disappointing.” Most had expected a flat reading.
The number was also some 10.1% down from April 2008.
Sales in March were revised downwards, decreasing 1.3%, instead of its previous number of 1.2%.
The Commerce Department’s sales numbers had risen in January and February, after six months of declines.
“Although retail sales declined slightly in April, they stayed above a recent low in December—and the jump in consumer attitudes about the economic outlook is a positive development,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “But even as Americans feel better about the direction of the economy, and the stimulus package is beginning to put people back to work, the decline in sales indicates just how difficult the economic environment remains.”