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Cheap gas doesn’t fuel sales in March


Even with fuel prices continuing to be low across the nation, U.S. retail sales were stagnant in March 2016.

According to advance data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, total seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales in the U.S. fell 0.3% to $446.9 billion compared to $448.2 billion in February 2016.

This continued shaky performance in 2016 that has included flat sales in February and a decline in January.

A 2.1% drop in motor vehicle and parts sales drove the overall decline, along with a 0.6% drop in department store sales. However, taking auto-related sales out of the equation, retail sales actually rose 0.2%.

The arrival of spring late in the month likely helped boost building material and garden equipment and supply sales, which showed the highest growth at 1.4%. A desire to look good in the warmer weather may have also helped boost sales at health and personal care retailers by 1%.

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