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US retail sales slip in March

People look for at a shopping mall in  Glendale, California on December 26, 2012
People look for sales at a shopping mall in Glendale, California on December 26, 2012. US retail sales fell 0.4 percent in March from February, Commerce Department data showed Friday, suggesting that higher taxes and government spending cuts were taking a

US retail sales fell 0.4 percent in March from February, Commerce Department data showed Friday, suggesting that higher taxes and government spending cuts were taking a toll on the economy.

Retail sales for March were $418.3 billion, compared to $420.1 billion a month earlier. March sales were a modest 2.8 percent higher than a year earlier.

Sales were down over a number of key categories: auto, electronics, food and beverage, health spending and gasoline.

Spending on building and garden supplies were sharply higher, as the spring season arrives and home construction picks up.

For the first quarter, sales were 3.7 percent higher than the same period in 2012.

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