US retail sales rose less than expected in January, but recorded a gain for a seventh consecutive month.

Retail and food services sales in the US rose 0.3 percent to $381.6 billion in January compared with the revised figure of 0.5 percent increase in December last year, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Markets had expected the US retail sales to rise by 0.5 percent in January.

Also, the core retail sales excluding motor vehicle and parts rose 0.3 percent against the economists’ expectations of 0.6 percent increase.

The increase in retail sales in January was largely by sales at gasoline stations, grocery stores, and auto retailers.

However, sales of building materials declined sharply by 2.9 percent. Sales at clothing stores fell 0.3 percent.