Poor car sales pull down US retail figures

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The Independent Online
Retail sales in the US fell in April, partly because of weaker demand for new cars. Commerce Department figures yesterday showed that total retail sales declined by 0.3 per cent, the largest drop since June last year, after a revision to show flat sales in March instead of a 0.1 per cent pick-up. Sales of new cars were down 0.9 per cent to a seasonally adjusted $51.9bn (pounds 31.8bn) following a 0.3 per cent decline in March.

New cars account for about one-quarter of the total. But there were also declines in furniture sales and sales of clothing, food and gasoline. The figures come ahead of next Tuesday's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The Fed raised short-term rates by a quarter point in March, saying strong demand risked triggering inflationary price and wage rises.