New York -- Retail sales fell 0.5% in June, the Commerce Department said on Monday, as consumer spending declined for the third consecutive month. The drop, which followed a 0.2% decrease in May, was unexpected as many economists were expecting growth.
Falling gas prices were attributed to some of the weakness. But even excluding sales at gas stations, retail spending fell 0.3% in June. Economists said weak job growth was making consumers cautious and eating away at consumer confidence.