U.S. retail down again in January

WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales declined by 0.8% in January, a greater drop than analysts expected. The decrease, following on a 0.9% fall in December, was largely due to lower gasoline prices. Even excluding that factor, however, sales remained flat after dropping 0.2% in December, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the first time since mid-2012 that retail spending has fallen for two consecutive months.