US retail sales inch down in May amid inflation

US retail sales in May declined for the first time in five months, amid soaring inflation.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that retail sales last month dropped 0.3 percent from April to total 672.9 billion dollars.

It said consumers spent 0.7 percent more on food services and drinking places. The rise likely reflected the fading impact of the coronavirus.

The department said sales at motor vehicles and parts dealers dropped 3.5 percent. That's due partly to a higher interest rate on loans.

The US consumer price index in May marked the highest level in more than 40 years. The persistent high inflation is believed to have curbed household spending.