Data released by the Commerce Department this morning showed that U.S. retail sales slipped 0.2% last month to a seasonally adjusted $404.6 billion, marking the second consecutive monthly decline. However, excluding gasoline, retail sales rose 0.1% in May.
May’s overall decline was in line with the median prediction of economists, Bloomberg noted.
The government also said that the previously announced 0.1% retail sales gain for April, had been revised downward to a 0.2% decline.
The Commerce report showed auto dealers’ sales rose 0.8% in May after a 0.1% rise in April. Earlier reports showed unit sales slowing to an annualized rate of 13.7 million vehicles in May, down from April’s 14.4 million vehicle pace.
Subtracting auto sales, retails sales in May fell 0.4%, the largest drop since 2010.
Retail sales fell in eight of the 13 sales categories monitored by the Commerce Department, with general merchandise, gasoline retailers and building supply vendors all showing lower sales.
Consumer spending was up in some sectors. Clothing retailers noted a 0.9% sales increase, while electronics retailers posted a 0.8% boost in May.
Gas station sales slid 2.2% during May, a reflection of falling gas prices, which dropped to a nationwide average of $3.71 a gallon last month, according to AAA.