Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Retail-Sales Fall Damps Hope That Rebound Is Near

The Wall Street Journal - WASHINGTON -- Retail sales tumbled in March as job losses and tight credit left consumers cautious and constrained, damping hopes for a rapid economic turnaround.

After some improvement earlier this year from a dismal autumn, retail sales in March fell 1.1% from February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Credit turmoil continued to hit automobile sales especially hard, but the declines also came in most major categories, from appliances to furniture to clothing stores. Retail sales, a broad tally that also includes food services, were down more than 9% from the same month a year ago.

The decline signaled that consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity, probably won't bounce back quickly from the depths of the recession. Consumers, hit by a weak job market and steep declines in household wealth, remain worried that more tough times lie ahead.

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