March Retail Sales Fall More than Expected: Hot Trends

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Popular searches on the Internet include retail after data from the Commerce Department Friday showed a bigger-than-expected drop in retail sales for March.

Retail sales in March fell 0.4%, the biggest drop in nine months. Some economists called for retail sales to be unchanged from a 1% increase in February.

Retailers who experienced poor ssales included general merchandise stores like department stores with a 1.2% decrease, and electronics stores, which had a 1.6% drop. Automobile and parts dealers experienced a 0.6% drop, compared to a 1.3% increase in February.

The drop in retail sales comes as employment has slowed as well. On April 5, a report by the Labor Department showed that payrolls grew by 88,000 last month, the smallest increase since last June.


Starbucks ( SBUX) is trending after announcing it will cut the prices of its bagged coffee sold in grocery stores.

The chain said it's making the cuts to stay competitive following price reductions by rivals like Dunkin' Donuts ( DNKN), Folgers and Maxwell House.

Beginning May 10, Starbucks will reduce the suggested retail price on 12-ounce packages of Starbucks coffee to $8.99 from $9.99 and Seattle's Best to $6.99 from $7.99. The price cut will only affect packaged coffee sold in retailers outside of its own shops.


LinkedIn ( LNKD) is another popular search. The networking Web site is acquiring mobile e-reader platform Pulse for about $90 million.

The company is paying about 90% in stock and 10% in cash for the application.

Pulse was founded by two Stanford University students in 2010. It focuses on aggregating news and information on mobile phones and is used by more than 30 million people worldwide on devices running Apple ( AAPL) iOS and Android operating systems.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, after which Pulse employees will be transitioned to LinkedIn's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

LinkedIn, which has 200 million users worldwide, has been making a push to further integrate its users. Last year, the company acquired content-sharing site Slideshare for about $118.8 million. It also revamped its Web site last October to make it more user-friendly and engaging.


The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo! and other search sites) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on the Web, and highlights the news that could make stocks move.

-- Written by Brittany Umar.

Brittany joined TheStreet.com TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.

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