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US retail sales plunge 3% as stimulus boost fizzles out

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Spending at US retailers slid in February as the effects of stimulus enacted late last year petered out.

US retail sales contracted 3% last month, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected sales to decline by 0.5% in February. January’s blowout reading was revised higher to 7.6%.

The reading marks the fourth decline in five months. Retail sales are seen as a key gauge of overall consumer spending, and since such spending drives roughly 70% of economic activity, the Census Bureau’s monthly report has taken on new importance as much of the US details ⇒

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