A slow turnaround in the US economy is not enough to change consumer shopping habits just yet, says the National Retail Federation (NRF), after sales fell in April.

According to its latest figures, retail sales for April decreased 0.4% from March and dropped 1.7% over last year.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales decreased 0.5% month-to-month in April and 3.0% year-over-year.

"A depressed labour market and lack of consumer confidence continues to play a role in what people buy and how much they spend," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF.

"Noticeable changes in consumer spending will take some time as the economy continues to rebuild itself through the rest of the year."