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U.S. retail sales increase moderately in April

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

(Reuters) - U.S. increased moderately in April as rising prices weighed on discretionary spending, but consumer spending appeared on track to accelerate after slowing sharply in the first quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that rose 0.3 percent last month. Data for March was revised up to show sales surging 0.8 percent instead of the previously reported 0.6 percent rise.

Last month's increase in was in line with economists' expectations. Retail sales in April increased 4.7 percent from a year ago.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rose 0.4 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in March. These correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of

They were previously reported to have risen 0.4 percent in March. Consumer spending braked sharply in the first quarter, growing at its slowest pace in nearly five years, amid delays in processing tax refunds. Economists also say clean-up efforts in the wake of back-to-back hurricanes in late 2017 had pulled forward spending into the fourth quarter.

A recent increase in prices, if sustained, could blunt the impact of lower income taxes on consumer spending. prices rose almost 17 cents to $2.757 per gallon in April, the highest price since July 2015, according to data from the

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew at a pedestrian 1.1 percent annualized rate in the first quarter. The expanded at a 2.3 percent pace in the January-March period.

In April, auto sales edged up 0.1 percent after accelerating 2.1 percent in March. Receipts at service stations jumped 0.8 percent, reflecting higher gasoline prices.

With prices at the pump rising, sales at restaurants and bars fell 0.3 percent, the largest drop since February 2017. Americans also cut back on spending on hobbies. Receipts at sporting goods and hobby stores dipped 0.1 percent last month, matching March's drop.

Sales at furniture stores rose 0.8 percent after surging 1.4 percent in March. Receipts at and appliance stores slipped 0.1 percent while sales at building material stores rose 0.4 percent last month.

Receipts at clothing stores shot up 1.4 percent, the biggest increase since March 2017, while sales at increased 0.6 percent.

(Reporting by by Paul Simao)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 18:11 IST