US retail sales rose in January for the seventh consecutive month, although the increase was below expectations.
Retail sales rose by 0.3%, less than analysts' expectations of a 0.6% increase, as extreme weather in large parts of the country kept some shoppers at home.
On an annual basis retail sales were up 7.8% from January 2010.
The Commerce Department also revised down December's increase to 0.5%, from an initial estimate of 0.6%.
Economists had been hoping for a bigger boost in sales as January was the first month that consumers had more money to spend following a social security tax cut.
However, analysts noted that the rise came despite the adverse weather conditions.
"Seventy percent of the country was covered by snow in January so, if anything, it's a miracle the consumer didn't just hibernate," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York.