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February 15, 2019

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American shops’ holidays not so happy

US retail sales fell in December, posting the biggest drop since September 2009 and delivering more evidence that last year’s holiday sales fizzled unexpectedly.

Even e-commerce suffered a big setback.

The Commerce Department said yesterday that December retail sales dropped 1.2 percent from November.

They were up 2.3 percent from December 2017.

Total retail sales for 2018 rose 5 percent from the previous year.

Excluding gasoline station sales, which swing widely as pump prices rise and fall, retail sales dropped 0.9 percent in December.

The stock market recorded big drops in December.

And a partial shutdown of the federal government began December 22 at the end of the holiday shopping season.

“The shutdown came late in the month and likely had little impact on December sales, but consumer sentiment was weaker in the month amid stock market volatility,” analysts at Contingent Macro Research wrote in a research report.

Non-store retailers, which include mail-order and e-commerce vendors, saw sales tumble 3.9 percent.

That’s the most since November 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis.

Retailers had high hopes for the 2018 holiday season.


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