Headline: Retail Sales Post Modest Gain in March
But for those who actually read the article:
Consumers, beset by a credit crunch, rising energy and food costs and a prolonged housing slump, stayed away from the malls in March. Retail sales posted only a small increase after a big drop in February.
The Commerce Department reported Monday that retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in March after a 0.4 percent decline in February. The March gain primarily reflected higher costs for gasoline, which climbed to record highs. Excluding a big 1.1 percent rise in sales at gasoline service stations, retail sales would have been flat last month.
The new report did nothing to dispel worries that consumers will cut back so sharply on spending that the country will tumble into a recession. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity.