U.S. retail sales unexpectedly declined for a third straight month in June, the latest sign that weak job growth and stagnant wages have taken a toll on the biggest part of the economy.

Retail and food services sales decreased by 0.5 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted $401.52 billion, the Commerce Department reported Monday. This is the first time since late 2008 - when the economy was still in deep recession -- that retail sales have fallen three months in a row. Economists polled by Reuters had called for retail sales to rise 0.2 percent.

Gasoline stations reported the biggest drop, down 1.8 percent, reflecting lower fuel prices.

Excluding gasoline, retail sales were down 0.3 percent last month.