The U.S. Commerce Department released the retail sales data on Thursday. The U.S. retail sales dropped 0.8% in January, missing expectations for a 0.3% decrease, after a 0.9% decline in December.
Retail sales excluding automobiles fell 0.9% in January, missing forecasts for a 0.4% decrease, after a 0.9% drop in December. December's figure was revised up from a 1.0% decline.
Automobiles sales decreased 0.5% in January.
The decline was driven by gasoline station sales and clothing stores sales. Gasoline station sales plunged 9.3%, the biggest decline since December 2008. Sales at clothing retailers decreased 0.8%.
These figures indicates that the U.S. economic growth was slow at the beginning of the first quarter.