Sales at US retailers fell unexpectedly in December, casting uncertainty over the recovery of the US economy.
Retail sales fell by 0.3% compared with November, according to figures from the US Commerce Department said, the first decline since September,
Sales of electrical goods and cars saw some of the biggest falls, though sales on a wide ranger of other goods also declined.
Concerns over job security are expected to continue to restrict spending, with unemployment still at 10%, the BBC says.
Reuters cited a Labor Department report showing initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 11,000 to 444,000 last week.