Sales rose 0.2 percent, as compared with expectations of a rise of 0.5 percent. Healthy vehicle sales lifted the overall figure.
Last month, auto sales increased 0.5% after rising 1.0% in October.
A late start to the traditional shopping season, however, could explain part of the downturn. But with Thanksgiving falling later in November there were fewer shopping days after Black Friday.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that President Donald Trump signed off on a phase-one trade deal with China, averting the December 15 introduction of a new wave of US tariffs on about $160 billion of consumer goods from the Asian nation, according to people familiar with the matter.
Economists had projected an increase of 0.4% following an initially reported gain of 0.3% in October, which has now been revised up to show a rise of 0.4%.
Big picture: The 2019 holiday season is likely to be stronger than it was a year ago, when retail sales fell slightly in November and even more sharply in December. Sales here rose just 0.1%MoM. The measure excludes food services, auto dealers, building-materials stores and gasoline stations, providing a reading considered more reflective of underlying consumer demand. 13, the Commerce Department released USA retail sales data for November. Receipts at building material stores were unchanged and sales at clothing stores fell 0.6%. General merchandise stores, which include large chains such as Target, eked out a 0.1% gain.
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In a separate report on Friday, the Commerce Department said retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.7 per cent in October after rising 0.2 per cent in September. They're up 11.5% from a year earlier, though that's down from October's increase.
Sales in the retail sales "control group" which excludes more volatile components came in weak at 0.1 percent.
USA retail sales increased less than expected in November as Americans cut back on discretionary spending despite a strong labour market, raising fears the economy was slowing a bit faster than anticipated in the fourth quarter.
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rose in Friday trades after the USA and China said they've agreed on the first phase of a trade agreement that Wall Street hopes reduces tensions and gives the global economy a boost. Exports have also slipped for much of this year.
Even so, the weakness in consumer spending - which accounts for two-thirds of the economy - is likely not dire enough to spur the Federal Reserve to resume cutting interest rates.