The country’s retail sales dropped 2.8 per cent in May – the ninth consecutive monthly slip. Analysts had forecast a 2.6 per cent decline. Falling wages and rising unemployment have resulted in consumers tightening their purse strings. The jobless rate rose to 5 per cent in April – the highest rate in five years - while wages have declined for the past 11 months. Department store sales
fell 12.3 per cent in May – the 15th monthly decline.