The US Commerce Department has reported a surprise drop in retail sales for January after a poor month for the auto sector.

Total retail sales dipped 0.3% last month to $322.87 billion (€251.88bn; £170.71bn), as vehicle purchases dropped by 3.9%.

However, it was a good month outside the car market. Excluding the auto downturn, retail sales rose 0.9%, as the cold weather sparked a 2.9% increase in clothing sales.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff