American retail trade and food services sales fell 1.1% in March, according to figures from the US Census Bureau.
The drop follows two month of rises and highlights the strain on American consumers.
Sales are 9.4% down compared with March 2008. Petrol station sales were down 34% over the year, while motor vehicle and parts dealers’ sales fell by 23.5%.
Also falling, after two months of rises, were American producer prices. The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods fell 1.2% in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This followed a 0.1% rise in February and a 0.8% increase in January.
America faces a second recession