U.S. retail sales were unchanged in April as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other big-ticket items, suggesting the economy was struggling to make a strong rebound after barely growing in the first quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday retail sales for March were revised up to show a 1.1 percent increase instead of the previously reported 0.9 percent rise.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising 0.2 percent last month.
Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services were also unchanged after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent increase in March.
The so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. Economists had forecast core retail sales rising 0.5 percent in April after a previously reported 0.4 percent increase in March.
Retail sales have trended weaker despite households getting a massive windfall from lower gasoline prices. Consumers appear to have saved much of the money from the cheaper gasoline.