Stateside consumers seem to have embarked upon an economy drive, as retail sales fell 0.2% in February – the first fall in three months.

The figures, released by the US Commerce Department, were lower than Wall Street predictions of a 0.4% rise, and follow a 1.3% increase in sales for January.

Furniture and home furnishings expenditure dropped 1.9%, following January’s jump of 3.1%; bars and restaurants saw sales fall 1.5% compared to a 3% gain the month before; and sales of cars and trucks edged up only 0.2% in contrast to January’s acceleration of 1.3%.

The fall in retail sales does not bode well for the US economy in the light of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s dictum that consumer expenditure will be an important yardstick in determining whether the current economic difficulties turn into a recession.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)