Reuters (02/12/15) Lucia Mutikani
Consumer spending was sluggish last month as retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials, and food services increased just 0.1%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Wall Street had expected a 0.4% increase. Experts believe that Americans are using extra income to pay down debt and add to their savings instead of spending on goods and services.
“There is a risk of a temporary soft patch for the economy as it is somewhat surprising the consumer has stopped spending their savings from gasoline prices,” says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.