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June 14, 2011 8:50 AM, EDT

Retail Sales Decline for First Time in Almost a Year

Retail sales fell in May for the first time in 11 months, as automobile sales slumped, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The 0.2% decline followed a 0.3% gain in April that was smaller than originally reported.

The May reading was not as steep a drop as economists’ forecasts of a 0.5% decline, Bloomberg reported.

Cars and light trucks sold at an 11.8 million annual rate in May, the slowest in eight months and down from April’s 13.1 million pace.

Six of 13 major retail categories showed declines, Commerce said.

Almost all trucking operations depend on the health of retail sales because such sales involve nearly every type of cargo.