Consumer retail sales in March fell unexpectedly by 0.2 percent, but that's not the end of the issue. At the same time, February’s previously recorded gain of 0.1 percent was revised down to a negative 0.3 percent. Those were the weakest consecutive monthly declines since the first two months of 2015.
The main headwind came from auto dealerships and gas stations. Auto deal sales fell to $87.8 billion from $89.1 billion in February, down from $90 billion in January. Gas station sales fell to $36.5 billion from $36.8 billion in February.
Aside from those two categories, though, sales pretty much treaded water in March. Excluding cars and gas, retail sales were up 0.1 percent last month.