A report released by the Commerce Department on Friday showed retail sales in the U.S. rose by far less than economists had anticipated in the month of November.
The Commerce Department said retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in November after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in October.
Economists had expected retail sales to climb by 0.5 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
The uptick in retail sales was partly due to continued growth in sales by motor vehicles and parts dealers, which rose by 0.5 percent in November after jumping by 1.0 percent in October.
Excluding the increase in auto sales, retail sales inched up by just 0.1 percent in November after rising by 0.3 percent in October. Economists had expected ex-auto sales to increase by 0.4 percent.
Increases in sales by non-store retailers, gas stations and electronics and appliance stores were partly offset by a steep drop in sales at health and personal care stores as well as lower sales by clothing and department stores.
Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude autos, gasoline, building materials and food services, crept up by 0.1 percent in November after a 0.3 percent increase in the previous month.
"We doubt that the prospect of lower tariffs on Chinese imports will provide much of a boost to consumers, as the initial tariff hikes had no discernible impact on real incomes," said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, "Regardless, with payroll employment growth picking up in recent months and the boost from lower borrowing costs starting to feed through, we expect consumption growth to gradually pick up again from early next year."