Retail sales dropped 0.1% in April, surprising the market, which had expected a 0.4% increase. Sales are up 4.1% from a year ago. Excluding cars, retail sales plunged 0.9%, compared with a 0.2% rise expected by the market.
Gas station sales fell 5.9%, reflecting lower gasoline prices. Clothing was off 3.2%, despite the late Easter, and department stores fell 1.4%. Excluding motor vehicles, sales are up 2.8% from a year ago.
The lack of any postwar rebound in sales in April is bad news for the economy, and suggests the Fed is more likely to act in June. From S&P MarketScope