US retail sales fell 0.3 percent in June as consumers pulled back spending in a broad array of areas, including auto purchases, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
Total retail and food services sales fell to $442.0 billion in June, against analysts' expectation of a 0.3 percent rise.
The department also revised lower the May gain to 1.0 percent from 1.2 percent.
Auto sales, which had propelled the May sales increase, fell 1.1 percent in June. Excluding autos, retail sales fell a more modest 0.1 percent.
Furniture and home furnishing stores saw the largest drop-off in sales, at 1.6 percent. Consumers also curtailed spending at building material and garden stores, clothing and department stores, bars and restaurants and online retailers.
Gasoline sales rose 0.8 percent.
The June data suggested the economy was still struggling after a particularly harsh first quarter. The data are a key piece of the picture on consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity. However, retail sales are dwarfed by consumer spending on services.
"Unexpectedly weak retail sales data adds to signs that the US economy is slowing again after pulling out of the soft patch earlier in the year,"said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
"Any signs of slower growth could easily dissuade the Fed from hiking interest rates later this year, pushing the first rate rise into 2016."
The Federal Reserve has said it plans to raise its zero-level interest rate this year, if data show the economy is strong enough.