US retail sales up just 0.2 pct. as consumers stay cautious

US retail sales up just 0.2 pct. as consumers stay cautious

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose slightly in January after a sharp drop in December, reflecting caution taken by consumers amid a government shutdown and volatile stock market.

Retail sales increased just 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Monday, after a sharp fall of 1.6 percent in December, the biggest drop in 9 years.

The economy has stumbled after healthy growth last summer and fall. Weaker economies overseas, the U.S.-China trade fight, and the 35-day government shutdown dented consumer and business confidence.

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