WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales plunged by the largest amount on record in October as the financial turmoil and the slumping economy caused consumers to sharply cut back on their spending.
The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales fell 2.8 percent last month, surpassing the old mark of a 2.65 percent drop in November 2001 in the wake of the terrorist attacks that year.
The decline in sales was led by a huge drop in auto purchases, but sales of all types of products from furniture to clothing fell as consumers retrenched.
The 2.8 percent drop marked the fourth consecutive monthly decline in retail sales and was much bigger than the 2 percent fall economists expected.
Emphasis added by me.
Why should anyone be surprised?
The shopper population during the Black Friday sales will be interesting to witness. Will everyone swoop in to grab loss-leader bargains and then just about stay home after that?