Retail sales normally slump during January, but this year's drop was more than expected.
The Commerce Department reports retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month, led by a drop in automobile sales. Sales fell by a revised 0.1 percent in December.
Economists polled by Reuters originally said retail sales would remain unchanged from December to January.
While there are fewer workers, modest sales growth in retail is expected to increase 4.1 percent in 2014, almost a half-percent from 2013. That's according to the National Retail Federation.
Retail, technology, and the financial sectors lead the industries with the greatest number of job losses to start 2014, according to Costar.com.
In the retail industry, there were 11,394 job cuts in January, a 71% increase from the 6,676 retail cuts tracked in January 2013.
The computer industry ranked second among January job cutters, announcing plans to shed 6,456 during the month. That was up 146% from the previous January when these firms announced 2,626 job cuts.
The financial services industry had 44 percent fewer layoffs in January 2014 compared to the previous year with a reported 4,817 planned layoffs. That compares to 8,578 for January 2013.