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Retailers see bigger decline in sales

SALES at United States retailers fell more than twice as much as forecast last month as job losses and the choking-off of credit led Americans to cut back on everything from eating out to car purchases.

The 2.7-percent decrease, the sixth consecutive drop, extended the longest string of declines in records going back to 1992, the Commerce Department said yesterday in Washington. Purchases, excluding automobiles, slumped 3.1 percent. Retail sales were projected to fall 1.2 percent after an originally reported 1.8 percent drop the prior month, according to the median estimate of 78 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Sales fell 0.1 percent for all of last year compared with the prior year, the first decrease on record.


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