Sales at U.S. retailers increased less than expected in January amid weak receipts at building material and restaurant outlets, a government report showed on Tuesday, likely reflecting the drag from snow storms that slammed large parts of the country during the month.

Total retail sales rose 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department said, advancing for a seventh straight month. Sales for December were slightly revised down to growth of 0.5 percent from a previously reported 0.6 percent.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to increase 0.6 percent last month. Compared to January last year sales were up 7.8 percent.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)