After a blockbuster start to the year, Americans appeared to tighten their purse strings as retail sales in February had the lowest rate of growth in six months.

While strong job growth, improving wages and record highs in the US stock market are continuing to support American spending, headline retail sales growth cooled for the third straight month.

Headline retail sales in the world’s largest developed economy rose 0.1 per cent in February from the previous month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was bang in line with expectations. Retail sales in January were revised up to 0.6 per cent from a previous estimate of a 0.4 per cent monthly rise.

So-called control retail sales, which exclude volatile items like autos, petrol sales and other products like building materials, rose 0.1 per cent, below estimates of a 0.2 per cent rise. However, the figure for January was revised up to 0.8 per cent from a previous estimate of 0.4 per cent.

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