Jun 15, 2022 - Economy

Retail spending unexpectedly drops as vehicle sales plummet

People shop at a supermarke

Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

Consumer spending came to a halt last month: Retail sales fell 0.3% from the prior month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Weak car sales weighed on retail sales, as vehicles got more expensive, shortages persisted and borrowing costs rose. Stripping out autos, ­re­tail sales actually rose 0.5%.

Details: Overall retail sales eased from April's downwardly revised 0.7% increase.

  • In May, consumers ramped up spending on services, including at food and beverage stores (+1.2%). Consumers cut back on goods, like furniture (-0.9%) and electronics (-1.3%).

The bottom line: The unexpected drop in retail sales, which aren't adjusted for inflation, ends a five-month streak of gains.

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