Retail sales took an unexpected slip in December, a signal that shoppers kept a tight watch on their holiday spending despite a boost from falling gasoline prices and a better job market.
In December, retail sales dropped 0.9% to $442.9 billion, the largest fall since January 2014, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase in spending from October to November was also revised downward to 0.4% from 0.7%.
When stripped of the volatile gasoline, autos, building and food services sectors, retail sales fell 0.4% in December after rising 0.6% in November.
"This is a reminder that the U.S. economy is not as strong as people thought it was," said Sung Won...