U.S. retail sales drop 1.2%

WASHINGTON U.S. retail sales dropped 1.2% for the month of May, the Census Bureau announced this week.

May retail sales might only have totaled $362.5 billion, but it was a 6.9% rise from May 2009, the report noted.

Advance estimates were not available for the retail pharmacy and drug store sector, the Census Bureau said in its report. Health and personal care stores, however, slightly increased to roughly $21.84 million from $21.77 million from April. The grocery store sector also saw an increase in sales, rising to $43.84 million from $43.61 million. To date, health and personal care stores and grocery store sales rose 2.9% and 2.5%, respectively, in a five-month period, compared with the same period a year ago.

Commenting on this month's retail sales results, Commerce Dept. secretary Gary Locke said the data showed uncertainty remains and there is a long road ahead to “ensure long-term economic stability. Overall, consumer spending has increased modestly this quarter, and as Americans continue to cut down their debt, financial positions will improve. That will help spur future economic growth and help put people back to work,” Locke said.

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