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The U.S. Commerce Department released the retail sales data on Wednesday. The U.S. retail sales unexpectedly dropped 0.9% in December, missing expectations for a 0.2% increase, after a 0.4% gain in November. November's figure was revised down from a 0.7% rise.
Retail sales excluding automobiles fell 1.0% in December, missing forecasts for a 0.1% gain, after a 0.1% gain in November. November's figure was revised down from a 0.5% increase.
The decline was driven by gasoline station sales. Gasoline station sales plunged 6.5% in December.
Sales at clothing retailers decreased 0.3%, while sales at electronics and appliance stores fell 1.6% in December.
For all of 2014, retail sales increased at an annual rate of 4%.
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