US retail sales dipped in February and were revised sharply lower in January, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a report reflecting falling gasoline prices and lower auto sales.
Retail sales and food service sales slipped 0.1 percent in February month-over-month, mainly dragged lower by a 4.4 percent drop in gasoline sales, according to the data which is not adjusted for price changes.
January's sales were revised to a 0.4 percent decline from a 0.2 percent gain.
The back-to-back monthly decline in retail sales pointed to some weakness in consumer spending, the main driver of the US economy that accounts for two thirds of activity.
A number of businesses registered declining sales in February, including moter vehicles and parts, down 0.2 percent; furniture 0.5 percent; grocery stores 0.3 percent and department stores 0.4 percent. Online sales dip 0.2 percent.
Stripping out auto and parts sales, retail sales were down 0.1 percent.
Consumers spent more at restaurants and bars, where sales rose 1.0 percent, and on sporting goods, music, clothing and building material and garden supplies.
February retail sales were up 3.1 percent from a year ago. That was "the best growth in a year, although severe weather restrained sales last year," said Scott Hoyt of Moody's Analytics.