May 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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US retail sales rose a bare 0.1 percent in April from March, helped by online sales, the US Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Retail sales excluding the automobile sector were also up 0.2 percent on the month, the department said.

Retail and food services sales in May were slightly slower than the 0.2 percent increase expected by most analysts for the headline number and the ex-auto number.

It was the weakest retail growth in the year to date, raising concerns about the fragile US recovery. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth.

On a 12-month basis, April retail sales were up 6.4 percent.

The weaker sales growth in April followed a much stronger March, though the department revised the February reading down a tenth point to 0.7 percent.

Compared with March, nine of the the department's 13 components rose, led by a 1.1 percent increase in online retail sales.

The biggest decliner was building material and garden supplies sales, down 1.8 percent.

Automobile and vehicle parts sales, whose volume represents nearly 20 percent of the index, rose 0.5 percent in April, after a 0.2 percent gain in March.


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