Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Retail sales in the United States declined in September for the first time in seven months, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
In its monthly retail report, the department said sales fell 0.3 percent, partly because of a labor dispute with General Motors that's resulted in a walkout of nearly 50,000 auto workers.
Sales for September totaled $525.6 billion, but fell short of economists' expectations of 0.3 percent growth.
Total sales dropped 1 percent at auto dealers, the report said, although vehicle sales climbed. The loss resulted from heavy discounts and corporate fleet sales.
The figures showed sales also fell at gas stations by 0.7 percent. Internet retailers, home centers and department stores also saw significant declines. Health stores and pharmacies showed the only gains.
September figures for home sales will come next week. The market showed a 7.1 percent gain in August.
The department on Wednesday also revised August growth to show an additional 0.2 percent. September's was the first decline in retail sales since March.