U.S. retail sales cooled in April, a government report said on Thursday, dragged lower by declines at auto dealers and clothing stores.

The Commerce Department (search) said retail sales slid a greater-than-expected 0.5 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted $331.84 billion. Sales excluding autos were off by a smaller 0.1 percent.

Economists had been expecting the slowdown, given the big jump in March sales. March retail purchases were revised to a 2.0 percent gain in the report, up from the previously reported 1.8 percent rise.

Wall Street economists had expected April overall sales and sales excluding autos to drop by 0.2 percent after March's hefty advance.

In the report, car and parts sales fell 1.8 percent, their biggest loss since January, while clothing sales fell 2.0 percent, their biggest monthly slide in more than a year.