Consumers spent more on gasoline, clothing and autos in April, pushing retail sales up for a 10th straight month. But much of the gain came from a surge in gasoline prices.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.5 percent in April after a 0.9 percent increase in March. Excluding a 2.7 percent jump in gasoline sales reflecting higher prices, the increase in retail sales was a much smaller 0.2 percent.
Gasoline pump prices have been surging in recent months, with the nationwide average hovering near $4 a gallon. Economists are worried that higher fuel costs will leave motorists with less money to spend on other items, and that will slow the overall economy.