From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales at U.S. retailers suffered a record decline in October as fears of recession sapped spending, but part of the drop was due to slumping gasoline prices, which helped buoy consumer confidence this month.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that retail sales slumped 2.8 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted $363.7 billion, the largest decline since the department’s current methodology was adopted in 1992, as mounting unemployment hit shoppers’ appetites.

A separate Reuters/University of Michigan November survey of consumers showed that confidence unexpectedly rebounded from a record October drop as tumbling gas prices offset worries about the economy.

While lower gas prices were welcome, declines in a broad number of retail sales categories showed consumers were still on the defensive.

[read the rest from Reuters]

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