Overall retail sales in June fell 0.5% in the month, according to a Commerce Department report. The decline came as many were expecting growth, with economists surveyed by Briefing.com expecting growth of 0.2%.
Gas prices declined steadily throughout the month, hitting a low of $3.41 a gallon at the end of the month. Prices hadn't been that low since the beginning of January. Gasoline stations' sales fell 1.8% during June.
Spending by consumers is an important driver for overall growth, making up more than two-thirds of the nation's economic activity.
Spending at building supply retailers posted a 1.4% decline despite the rise in home building activity and low mortgage rates, as unusually warm weather in the spring likely caused construction to start earlier this year.