Retail Sales Down (Again) In November

The government reported today that retail sales for November were down for the fifth consecutive month, proving what pundits suspected: that Black Friday wouldn’t be that spectacular. Here’s hoping the holidays save the stores.

NY Times: Weighed down by plummeting auto sales, retail sales declined for a fifth consecutive month in November as Americans continued to trim their spending amid layoff announcements, jittery stock markets and other signs of persistent economic gloom…

Retail sales posted a monthly decline of 1.8 per cent from October to November, and plunged 7.4 per cent between last month and November 2007, the Commerce Department reported on Friday…

Still holiday sales helped lift retail totals above Wall Street’s predictions.

The overall monthly decline was shallower than Wall Street had expected, largely because of an unexpected bump in early holiday sales, economists said. Deep discounts and “doorbuster” bargains lured shoppers back to shopping malls after Thanksgiving, bolstering sales of electronics and sporting goods for the month.

Sales at department stores, whose stock prices have tumbled as profit and sales forecasts have fallen, rose 2 per cent in November. Home furnishings stores also posted an increase of 0.2 per cent. Sales of sporting goods, books, appliances and electronics rose 2.8 per cent from October.

The increased business at department stores was unexpected given that many retail chains outside the discount retailers reported poor sales in November.

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