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U.S. Retail Sales Fall 0.4% in March

Associated Press (04/15/13) Christopher Rugaber

Retail sales declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in March, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported, indicating that higher taxes and weak hiring likely made some consumers more cautious about spending. Excluding the volatile categories of autos, gas, and building materials, core sales dropped 0.2% in March. That followed a gain of 0.3% in February. The decline in March shows higher Social Security taxes are starting to affect consumers and could dampen growth in the spring. “The U.S. consumer looks a little less resilient,” says Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase. “It now appears that close to $200 billion in higher taxes may have actually had some impact on consumer spending.”