Storm Clouds Dampen US Consumer Spending

06 March 2006

   Cold weather played a large part in a disappointing February for US retailers who recorded their weakest monthly gain since May.
   The International Council of Shopping Centers reported that sales at established stores rose 3.2% from a year earlier to $49.3 billion (€41bn; £28bn), while nearly 60% of retailers monitored by Thomson Financial missed expectations.
   Meanwhile, Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center, says shoppers are "are growing increasingly concerned about the short-term health of the economy and, in turn, about job prospects".