Sales Drop for Sixth Straight Month

Retail sales fell 2.7 percent in December according to the Commerce Department, the sixth straight monthly drop. Excluding autos and auto parts, sales were down 3.1 percent. November sales estimates were revised downward as well. Economists had expected a 1.2 percent drop.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for December, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $343.2 billion, a decrease of 2.7 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month and 9.8 percent (±0.7%) below December 2007. Total sales for the 12 months of 2008 were down 0.1 percent (±0.4%)* from 2007. Total sales for the October through December 2008 period were down 7.7 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The October to November 2008 percent change was revised from -1.8 percent (±0.5%) to -2.1 percent (±0.3%).

Retail trade sales were down 2.7 percent (±0.5%) from November 2008 and were 10.8 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 35.5 percent (±1.5%) from December 2007 and motor vehicle and parts dealers sales were down 22.4 percent (±2.3%) from last year.

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