Consumer Spending Slumps

Along with confidence


Consumers are spending less and losing confidence unexpectedly, data showed Friday, adding to indications that economic momentum is waning again after earlier signs of strength.

March retail sales fell 0.4% from February, the Commerce Department said. Wall Street expected no change. On an annual basis, sales grew 2.8%, the slowest pace since November 2009.

Cheaper gasoline didn't boost spending elsewhere. Most retail categories saw declines, as higher payroll taxes continued to take a toll and late winter storms kept shoppers at home.