WASHINGTON - Sales at U.S. retailers fell in May for a second straight month as consumers purchased fewer automobiles and other big-ticket items, a sign of slower economic growth that could keep Federal Reserve policymakers from raising interest rates this month.

Total sales declined 0.3% in May following a 0.6% decrease in April, the Commerce Department reported.

After six Fed interest rate increases in the past year, policymakers are "almost certain to leave rates unchanged in June, with consumers no longer on a spending binge," said Christopher Low, chief economist at First Tennessee Capital Markets, in New York.

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