LBM, garden sales buck downward trend in U.S. retail

U.S. retail sales edged down by 0.7 percent in December, the U.S. Commerce Department reports. It was the third consecutive monthly decline, exceeding the 0.1 percent slip projected by economists in a Wall Street Journal poll. Sales of building and garden materials however were estimated to rise 0.9 percent from November. At the same time, the preliminary November decrease of 1.1 percent was adjusted to 1.4 percent.