WASHINGTON – Retail sales increased 0.4% last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, buoyed by rising gasoline revenue. The gain in March, the ninth consecutive monthly increase, was the smallest since the string began last summer.
The increase shrank to a 0.1% when sales at gasoline stations were excluded. However, the biggest decline in auto sales in more than a year also pulled down overall sales. When taking out sales at gas station and of autos, retail sales rose 0.6%.