NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — Consumers barely increased spending in May, as still high prices on groceries and other necessities and high interest rates curbed spending.

Sales rose 0.1% in May, below the pace that economists projected, according to U.S. Department of Commerce.

April sales rate was revised downward, a 0.2% decline, from “unchanged.”

Sales rose 0.7% in March and 0.9% in February. Sales fell 1.1% in January, in part due to inclement weather.

Retail sales in May, in part, were depressed by reduction in gas price. Excluding sales from gasoline, sales were up 0.3%. The national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.45 as of Monday; a month ago, it was $3.59, AAA said.

Government retail data isn't adjusted for inflation.

Economists said the report reflects an increasingly cautious consumer. But they point to a silver lining: a weaker-than-expected retail sales report increases the likelihood Federal Reserve will start to cut the interest rate within a few months.

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