Sales tumbled a seasonally adjusted 0.4% last month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.1% drop.
What’s more, an originally reported increase in sales in December was wiped out to show a small decline. The increase in sales in November was also trimmed a notch.
Some economists quickly cut their forecasts for first-quarter growth and said gross domestic product in the fourth quarter is likely to be revised sharply lower from the government’s original reading of 3.2%. Growth in the final three months could be trimmed to 2.4% or less.
In Thursday action, U.S. stock markets retreated after the poor showing in retail sales and a separate report showing an 8,000 increase in initial jobless claims.