WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. retail sales growth slowed in April, with consumers shopping less online and cutting back on purchases of furniture and electronics.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose just 0.1 percent last month, after surging 1.5 percent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping.
Auto sales increased 0.6 percent in April, and purchases at clothing stores were up 1.2 percent. But most of those gains were offset by declines in spending at restaurants, online retailers and furniture and electronics stores. Excluding autos and gasoline, retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month.
The modest sales suggest that consumers continue to be cautious during the still-slow, nearly 5-year recovery. Higher sales would help drive faster overall economic growth because consumers account for about 70 percent of all economic activity.