U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined in February, adding to signs that consumers might be cutting back as the economic stimulus fades from President Donald Trump's late-2017 tax cuts.

Retail sales fell by 0.2% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Census Bureau reported on Monday. That compares with a revised 0.7% increase the prior month, and economists had projected a gain of 0.3% during February based on a survey by the data provider FactSet.

Severe weather may have also played a role in the "soft" retail sales, Deutsche Bank economists told clients in a note prior to the Census Bureau's report. 

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales fell by 0.4% from January's levels, according to the Census.

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