Retail sales up slim 0.1% in Dec. (by Greg Robb)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Sales at U.S. retailers increased 0.1% in December to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. Sales rose an upwardly revised 0.4% in November. Details of the December report were mixed. Ahead of the report, economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected total sales to rise 0.3%. Excluding the 1.5% rise in motor vehicle sales, retail sales fell 0.2%. Economists had expected ex-auto sales to rise 0.3%. Core sales, excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, fell 0.2% in December after a 0.3% gain in November. This is the first drop in core sales since last December.