Economic Report: Retail sales fall in February, but not all is lost: January sales turned out to be quite strong

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Retail sales fell in February, hampered by a severe cold spell in much of the country.

The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers fell in February for the second time in three months in another sign of a slowdown infecting broad swaths of the economy early in the new year. The saving grace? Sales in January were much stronger than originally reported.

Retail sales dropped 0.2% last month, hurt in part by a severe cold spell across the country. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected sales to climb 0.3%.

Offsetting the surprise decline in sales last month was a bigger gain in January than initially recorded.

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