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U.S. Goverment: Retail Sales Fell 0.3 Percent in October
Nov 14, 2003
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America's shoppers tightened their belts in October, depressing sales at the nation's retailers by 0.3 percent, the second month in a row that sales declined, the United States government reported.

However, the back-to-back declines in retail sales—they fell by 0.4 percent in September—follow consumers’ shopping spree during the summer.

The U.S. Commerce Department's report showed that the decline in sales in October was led by a 1.9-percent drop in automobile sales and a 1.6-percent drop in sales at gasoline stations, reflecting lower prices at the pump.

However, excluding sales of automobiles, which widely varies from month to month, and sales at gasoline stations, sales at all other merchants rose by a modest 0.4 percent in October, the government said.

While shoppers were more selective in October, they still had an appetite to spend. The government’s report indicated that consumers went out to dinner more. Shoppers also opened their wallets and pocketbooks last month when it came to buying building and garden supplies, furniture and home furnishings, and health and beauty products.

But the drop in auto and gasoline sales, as well as sales at sporting goods stores, music stores, grocery stores, and department stores outweighed those sales increases.

The Associated Press

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