Unexpected 0.3% decline, hammered by inflation


Retail sales turned negative in May as consumers pulled back spending while inflation surged, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Advance retail and food service spending fell 0.3% for the month, below the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.1% gain. Excluding autos, sales were up 0.5%, which fell short of expectations for a 0.8% increase.

The numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which increased 1% for the month on the headline number and 0.6% excluding food and energy.

Sales were well below the pace in April, which posted a downwardly revised 0.7% increase from the initial 0.9% estimate.

Spending for the month declined even though sales at gas stations increased 4% due to fuel prices that…


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