NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales rose modestly in March, but higher prices for food, gasoline and other basics took a big share of consumers' wallets.
Retail sales increased 0.5% after registering a revised 0.8% increase from January to February.
Spending has been fueled by wage gains, solid hiring and more money in banking accounts. January’s increase of 4.9% was the biggest jump in spending since March 2021, when American households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400.
Excluding an 8.9% increase at gas stations, overall retail sales were actually down 0.3% last month, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Thursday.