Wednesday, October 15, 2008

US Retail Sales Slump 1.2%, most in three years and 3 months in a roow

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Sales at U.S. retailers dropped in September by the most in three years as mounting job losses, plunging home prices and the deepening credit crisis rattled consumers. Purchases fell 1.2 percent, more than forecast, following a 0.4 percent decline the prior month and 0.6 percent drop in July, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Excluding autos, sales fell 0.6 percent, also more than anticipated. The biggest decline in stock prices in at least seven decades last week may further undermine confidence, prompting consumers to cut back on non-essentials like new cars and vacations that will deepen the economic slump. Stock-index futures retreated. September's drop, the largest since August 2005, extended declines in retail sales to three consecutive months, the first time that's happened since comparable records began in 1992. Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, the retail group the government uses to calculate GDP figures for consumer spending, sales dropped 0.7 percent, after a 0.4 percent decrease in August. The government uses data from other sources to calculate the contribution from the three categories excluded. The only categories registering gains last months were service stations, with a 0.1 percent increase, and health and personal care stores, where sale rose 0.4 percent.

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