In signs that the traction gained by world’s largest economy during the second half of 2011 will be hard to maintain in 2012, US retail sales rose just 0.1pc in December, down from 0.2pc in November, and against expectations of a 0.3pc rise.
This was the smallest December gain since monthly sales fell by 2.6pc in December 2008, although the 8pc total rise in 2011 pushed sales to their largest annual increase since 1999.
Paul Dales, US economist at Capital Economics said the figures showed “it was not a happy holiday season for US retailers”.
“Households have started to pare back their spending, most probably because their real incomes have continued to fall,” he added.
Sales of electronic goods in December fell by 3.9pc, while department store sales and internet purchases fell by 0.2pc and 0.4pc respectively.
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