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Retail sales unexpectedly fell in December as consumers pulled back on spending

The so-called core retail sales tumbled 3.1% last month

File photo

By Megan Henney


U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined in December, suggesting that consumers are pulling back on spending as they face surging prices and an acceleration in COVID-19 infections.

The value of total sales decreased 1.9% from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Friday, marking the steepest drop in 10 months. Economists surveyed by Refinitv expected sales to be flat at 0%. It follows an increase of 0.2% in November, revised Commerce Department figures show.

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