As Americans reduced their discretionary spending, retail sales in the United States rose by a level that was lower than expected in November. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.2 percent last month, and data from October was revised to indicate that retail sales rose 0.4 percent in lieu of climbing 0.3 percent as reported previously, CNBC reported.
Economists that Reuters polled had predicted retail sales would accelerate 0.5 percent last month. With the exclusion of gasoline, automobiles, food services and building materials, retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in November after increasing by an unrevised 0.3 percent the month before.
Auto sales rose by 0.5 percent after climbing 1.0 percent in October. Higher prices for gasoline increased service station receipts by 0.7 percent. Mail-order and online retail sales rose by 0.8 percent after gaining 0.6 percent the month before. Sales at appliance and electronics stores were up 0.7 percent.
Clothing store sales dropped 0.6 percent and building material store receipts were not changed. Furniture store sales edged up 0.1 percent. Americans also reduced their bar and restaurant spending, with sales decreasing 0.3 percent. Spending at musical instrument, book and hobby stores decreased 0.5 percent.
The economy grew at a pace of 2.1 percent in the period of July-September. The small increase in core retail sales last month could see economists reduce GDP growth estimates for Q4, according to CNBC. The government reported last week that the unemployment rate fell back to its lowest level in almost half a century at 3.5 percent and that the economy made 266,000 jobs in November.
The news comes after retail sales increased 0.3 percent in October, rebounding from a 0.3 percent drop the month before. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters expected a 0.2 percent increase. Spending on big-ticket items was mostly down with the exception of vehicle sales, which increased 0.5 percent. Home-furnishing and furniture sales fell 0.9 percent.
Sales of electronics and appliances were down 0.4 percent, clothing stores dropped 1.0 percent and building materials fell 0.5 percent.