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U.S. retail sales drop 1.2% in September PDF Print E-mail
Written by HGO Staff   
WASHINGTON - U.S. retail sales in September plunged by the largest amount in two years as money-conscious and worried consumers stayed away from malls and showrooms in droves.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that retail sales decreased 1.2 per cent last month, nearly double the 0.7 per cent drop that had been expected.

The weakness was led by a 3.8 per cent drop in auto sales. Sales dropped below one million units as consumers struggled to find financing.

Overall retail sales have now fallen for three consecutive months, the first time this has occurred since the U.S. government began tracking those statistics in 1992.

Many analysts believe the economy is slipping into a recession, triggered by a steep slump in housing and the severe credit crisis. The poor retail numbers in September have increased the risks of recession in the U.S. because consumer spending represents about two-thirds of total economic activity in the country.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales showed widespread weakness, falling by 0.6 per cent or double the decline outside of autos that had been expected by analysts.

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