Retail sales in the U.S. fell for the third straight month, likely another casualty of several weeks of harsh winter that hit much of the country.
The Census Bureau report shows retail sales fell 0.6% in February adding to a 0.8% drop in January and a 0.9% drop in December. It’s the first time in since 2012 sales have experienced a three-month run of declines.
Automobiles saw one of the biggest drops, losing 2.5%. Sales at building supply and garden equipment stores fell 2.3%. Furniture, electronics and appliances all also saw a drop in sales for February.
The loss goes against MarketWatch and Reuters analysts’ predictions, who were looking for a rise of between 0.3 - 0.4%.
Retail sales minus cars, fuel, building supplies and food services were flat following January’s 0.1% drop.
The recent rise in fuel prices likely helped hold off an even bigger decline. The price of a gallon of gas in February was up by 9 cents following several months of falling crude prices that saw a drastic price drop.
Follow this link for the full report from the U.S. Census Bureau.