Sales at U.S. retailers fell for a second straight month in June and businesses wary of ebbing demand barely raised inventories in May, more evidence the economic recovery has slowed in recent months.
Retail sales slipped 0.5 percent last month, pulled down by weak receipts at automotive dealers and gasoline stations, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The decline outstripped the 0.2 percent fall economists had expected and followed a 1.1 percent drop in May.
The data comes on the heels of an unexpectedly wider trade deficit in May and prompted economists to trim growth forecasts for the second quarter.
"Activity at the end of the quarter was much weaker than at the start," said Paul Dales, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. "It has therefore become much more likely that private sector demand will not be able to offset the fading fiscal stimulus." (more)