WASHINGTON – Consumers cut back on purchases last month, heralding what looks to be a second-half slowdown predicted by economists.

Sales for all retailers and food service firms retreated 0.1 percent in June, compared with the preceding month. Last month’s dip followed a 0.1 percent rise during May and a 0.7 percent increase in April.

Fashion retailers showed mixed results in June, with specialty stores gaining and department stores losing ground, according to the monthly Commerce Department report on sales.

Seasonally adjusted sales at apparel and accessories stores rose 0.3 percent in June to $17.7 billion, which was 4.9 percent ahead of year-ago sales. On the other side of the ledger, sales at department stores slid 0.3 percent in June to $17.7 billion, 2.2 percent behind June 2005.

For complete coverage, see Monday’s issue of WWD.

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