Retail sales rose by 0.4 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported today.
While that's better than December's flat number, it's less than the 0.8 percent expected by economists. The AP adds:
"When excluding autos and gasoline station sales, retail spending jumped 0.6 percent the best showing in three months.
"Consumers spent less on cars, the report showed, even though automakers have previously reported higher sales in January. That suggests dealers offered discounts in order to boost sales.