Retail sales in the U.S. took an unexpected dive in December as COVID-19 cases surged because of the omicron variant.
Figures released Friday by the Commerce Department show that they dropped 1.9% from November, although economists had forecasted that they only decline by 0.1%.
After four straight months of sales increases, the decline was attributed to several factors, including supply chain disruptions and decades-high inflation.
Total sales from October to December jumped 17.1% from the same period as a year ago.
It was still a good year for retailers, with sales rising 19.3% from last year.