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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

U.S. retail sales up just 0.2 pct. as consumers stay cautious

UPDATED: Mon., March 11, 2019, 4:52 p.m.

A customer shops in a Sears store in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Jan. 7, 2019. (Associated Press)
A customer shops in a Sears store in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Jan. 7, 2019. (Associated Press)
By Christopher Rugaber Associated Press

WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales rose slightly in January after a sharp drop in December, reflecting caution taken by consumers amid a government shutdown and volatile stock market.

The Commerce Department said Monday retail sales increased just 0.2 percent, after a sharp fall of 1.6 percent in December, the biggest drop in nine years.

The economy has stumbled after healthy growth last summer and fall. Weaker economies overseas, the U.S.-China trade fight, and the 35-day government shutdown dented consumer and business confidence. Economists believe growth could fall below a 1 percent annual rate in the first three months of this year.

In January, auto sales plunged by the most in five years, and furniture and electronics stores sales also declined.

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