US retail sales fell in June for 2nd straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans curtailed their shopping in June, with less spending at restaurants, department stores and gasoline stations. The spending pullback came despite a healthy job market and suggests that economic growth may remain sluggish.

The Commerce Department says retail sales fell 0.2 percent after declining 0.1 percent in May. Retail spending has risen 2.8 percent over the past 12 months, a relatively modest level of growth given that the sales figures aren't adjusted for inflation.

Sales slipped 0.6 percent at restaurants and bars, 0.7 percent at department stores and 1.3 percent at service stations, reflecting lower gasoline prices. But spending improved 0.4 percent at non-store retailers and auto dealers. Spending at furnishers also rose.

The spending figures are closely watched because consumers account for roughly 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.