US retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, and another gauge of consumer spending also slipped.
The Commerce Department said today that retail sales fell 0.4pc last month, led by a drop in automobile sales. Sales fell by a revised 0.1pc in December.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would be unchanged in January after rising by a previously reported 0.2pc in December.
Stripping out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, so-called core sales fell 0.3pc after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3pc in December. Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.
Economists had expected this category to advance 0.2pc in January.