U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in October amid a surprise decline in automobile purchases, suggesting a slowdown in consumer spending that could temper expectations of a strong pickup in fourth-quarter economic growth.
The Commerce Department said on Friday retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month after being unchanged in September.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.3 percent in October after a previously reported 0.1 percent increase in September.
Sales at auto dealerships fell 0.5 percent last month after rising 1.4 percent in September. The decline is surprising given that motor vehicle manufacturers reported strong sales for October.
Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services rose 0.2 percent after an upwardly revised 0.1 percent gain in September. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.