Retail sales in U.S. declined in November for 2nd month in a row

File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

Dec. 16 (UPI) — Retail sales in the United States declined in November for the second straight month, the Commerce Department said in a monthly report Wednesday.

Estimates of U.S. retail and food service sales for the month were $546.5 billion, the department’s report said, a decrease of 1.1% percent from October.

Most analysts expected a November decline of about 0.3%.

Wednesday’s report also revised down retail sales for October, by 0.1%, from the 0.3% gain initially reported.

The department’s assessment is another signal that economic growth has slowed in recent weeks and months as coronavirus cases spiked nationally.

Analysts say retail spending in November was impacted by new business restrictions, many of which were renewed due to the rise in cases.

Bars and restaurants saw a 4% decline in sales and business was down at U.S. auto dealerships, gas stations, department stores, clothing stores, home furnishing dealers and electronics stores.

The National Retail Federation noted, however, that retail sales in November were still close to 9% higher than they were a year ago.

“Consumers held back on spending in November as virus rates spiked, states imposed retail restrictions and congressional stimulus discussions were gridlocked,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

“We still expect a strong holiday season compared with last year.”

Earlier this month, analysts said holiday shoppers spent a record $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday this year. Experts, however, had predicted those sales would be closer to $13 billion.

The Labor Department said in its jobs report this month the U.S. economy added just 245,000 payrolls in November, also well short of expectations.


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