Retail sales in the U.S. fell 1 percent from February to March, according to Census Bureau Data released Friday, a sharp drop signaling that the economy is slowing faster than expected. Analysts had predicted retail sales would fall 0.4 percent. Sales figures were down despite consumer prices rising 5 percent annually in March, indicating that sales volumes are seeing even steeper declines. Spending at gas stations fell 5.5 percent last month, the biggest drop of any category, amid falling oil prices and weaker demand. Sales were down 14.2 percent compared to March 2022. Sales at general merchandise stores, which sell a broad range of items, fell 3 percent last month. The report indicates a pullback in spending on pricier products. Sales of electronics and appliances plummeted 2.1 percent in March and 10.3 percent on the year. Furniture store sales fell 1.2 percent last month and declined 2.4 percent on the year.