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Cold Temperatures Hurt U.S. Retailers as Sales Drop: Economy

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The bitter cold that swept over parts of the U.S. chilled retail sales in February as the world’s largest economy began the year on weak footing.

Purchases unexpectedly dropped 0.6 percent, a third consecutive decline, according to figures issued by the Commerce Department on Thursday in Washington. Other data showed fewer Americans than forecast filed claims for jobless benefits last week, and the cost of imported goods rose in February.