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US Retail Sales Post First Drop in Five Months as Auto Purchases Plunge

  • Value of purchases fell 0.3% in May; up 0.1% ex auto and gas
  • Electronics, furniture and e-commerce also posted declines
A pedestrian carries shopping bags in San Francisco, California.
A pedestrian carries shopping bags in San Francisco, California.Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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US retail sales fell in May for the first time in five months, restrained by a plunge in auto purchases and other big-ticket items, suggesting moderating demand for goods amid decades-high inflation.

The value of overall retail purchases decreased 0.3%, after a downwardly revised 0.7% gain in April, Commerce Department figures showed Wednesday. Excluding vehicles, sales rose 0.5% last month. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.