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U.S. retail sales unexpectedly flat in April

The Commerce Department reported on Friday the sales at U.S. retailers were flat m-o-m in April, following a revised 10.7 percent m-o-m surge in March (originally a 9.8 percent m-o-m jump).

Economists had expected total sales would increase 1.0 percent m-o-m in April.

According to the report, advances in retail sales at food services and drinking places (+3.0 percent m-o-m), motor vehicles and part dealers (+2.9 percent m-o-m) and electronics (+1.2 percent m-o-m) were offset by declines at clothing stores (-5.1 percent m-o-m), general merchandise stores (-4.9 percent m-o-m), sporting goods, hobby, musical instruments and books (-3.6 percent m-o-m), gasoline stations (-1.1 percent m-o-m) and nonstore retailers (-0.6 percent m-o-m).

Excluding auto, retail sales fell 0.8 percent m-o-m in April after a revised 9.0 percent m-o-m jump in the previous month (originally an 8.4 percent m-o-m increase), being worse than economists’ forecast of a 0.7 percent m-o-m gain.

Meanwhile, closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, and are used in GDP calculations, dropped 1.5 percent m-o-m in April after a revised 7.6 percent m-o-m jump in March (originally a 6.9 percent m-o-m climb).

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