US retail sales growth slows unexpectedly in June

Shopper with trolley
Image caption Retail sales have steadily recovered since 2009, but more slowly than after previous recessions

US retail sales grew in June, but at a slower rate than was expected by many analysts.

Sales were up by a seasonally-adjusted 0.4%, half the 0.8% rate expected by the markets.

Sales of building materials - often a volatile item - fell 2.2% in the month, according to the Commerce Department.

The sub-par performance added to expectations that the Federal Reserve will wean the US off economic stimulus more slowly than previously indicated.

Car sales - which can also vary greatly from month to month - jumped 2.1%, while furniture and household goods rose 2.4%.

Total retail sales in June were 27.5% up from their level at the bottom of the recession in mid-2009.

The figures come on top of weaker trade and manufacturing data, pointing to a softening in the US recovery.

"The disappointing rise in retail sales values in June increases the chances that GDP grew at an annualised rate of less than 1% in the second quarter," said Paul Dales, US economist at research firm Capital Economics.

"Even more worrying is that sales growth appears to be losing momentum heading for the third quarter."

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