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WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales fell in February, as auto purchases dropped by the most in more than a year and Americans spent less at restaurants and home improvement stores.The Commerce Department says retail sales fell 0.6 per cent last month, after a 0.8 per cent decline in January. It was the third straight retreat. Gas station sales rose for the first time in 9 months. Excluding the volatile categories of autos, gas, building materials and restaurants, sales were flat.Robust hiring in the past 12 months and lower gas prices have lifted consumer confidence. But those trends have yet to boost spending, a key driver of economic activity.Freezing temperatures and snowstorms likely weighed on sales, as the bad weather kept Americans at home. by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Mar 12, 2015 6:33 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US retail sales fall for 3rd straight month in February as auto purchases drop sharply In this Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 photo, a shopper carries JCPenney shopping bags, in New York. The Commerce Department releases retail sales data for February on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) read more

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