16 Oct 2008

US retail sales decline sharply

8:41 am on 16 October 2008

Retail sales fell sharply in the United States last month, recording the biggest monthly decline in more than three years.

The Commerce Department said the value of sales fell 1.2% from August and was 1% below September 2007.

Auto sales fell by 3.8%.

The BBC reports the fall was much steeper than analysts had forecast.

Auto sales plunged with consumers opting to defer big purchases and with car financing becoming harder to secure.

However, retail sales still declined by 0.6% even when car sales were stripped out of the data.

Official data also showed that wholesale prices fell 0.4% in September from August, a sign that the cost of finished goods could soon fall.