The U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday that retail sales unexpectedly fell 1.1 percent in November, the biggest drop since April, raising questions about the prospects for the U.S. economic recovery as confirmation numbers remain high and bailout talks remain uncertain.
Retail sales fell 1.1 percent in November, the Commerce Department said, unexpectedly beating expectations of a 0.3 percent decline. The previous reading was revised down to minus 0.1 percent from 0.3 percent, the first decline since March and April. Separately, core retail sales excluding autos, gasoline, building materials and food services fell 0.5 percent in November.
Us retail sales Monthly growth rate (Chart: Zerohedge)
Clothing, food and beverage services and electronics sales were the main drag on last month’s data. Apparel sales fell 6.8 percent in November, food and beverage sales fell 4.0 percent, electronics sales fell 3.5 percent, auto and parts sales, which make up 20 percent of retail sales, fell 1.7 percent, and furniture sales fell 1.1 percent.
As the outbreak forces the reopening of lockdowns in many US locations, economic losses are mounting, resulting in more people losing their jobs, businesses facing temporary or even permanent shutdowns and consumers’ finances turning conservative as they await vaccinations and new bailouts.