U.S. retail sales slump for second straight month

WASHINGTON Wed May 13, 2009 9:11am EDT

1 of 2. Customers shop at a Target store in Colorado, February 24, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales at U.S. retailers fell for a second straight month in April, pulled down by sluggish gasoline and electronic goods purchases, government data showed on Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales slipped 0.4 percent after falling by a revised 1.3 percent in March, previously reported as a 1.2 percent drop.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, sales dipped 0.5 percent in April, compared to a 1.2 percent decline the prior month. Vehicles and parts sales rose 0.2 percent after a 2.0 percent plunge in March.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales to be flat in April. Excluding motor vehicles, sales had been predicted to rise 0.2 percent.

Gasoline sales dropped 2.3 percent in April after tumbling 3.2 percent the previous month. Sales of electronic goods fell 2.8 percent, versus a 7.8 percent plunge in March, while building materials rose 0.3 percent after slipping 0.8 percent.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci.)

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