NATIONAL NEWS

Retail sales slip in October as consumers pull back after summer splurges

Nov 15, 2023, 5:43 AM

A customer browses the holiday lights section at Blackhawk Hardware, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, in Ch...

A customer browses the holiday lights section at Blackhawk Hardware, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, in Charlotte, N.C. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for October. (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans cut back on retail spending in October, ending six straight months of gains, though the decline was partly driven by falling prices for both gasoline and cars.

Retail sales declined 0.1% last month after jumping a strong 0.9% in September, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commerce Department. September’s figure was revised higher from an initial report of a 0.7% gain. Excluding sales of gas and autos, retail sales ticked up 0.1%.

The figures reflect a slowdown in consumers’ willingness to spend after a blowout summer. Consumer spending jumped in the July-September quarter, but economists forecast it will slow in the final three months of the year, as credit card debt — and delinquencies — rise and average savings are falling.

Online spending rose 0.2% last month, according to the report. Sales at general merchandise stores fell 0.2% and sales at home furnishings and furniture stores plunged 2%.

Recent U.S. data has revealed that a surge in consumer spending has fueled strong growth and its resilience has confounded economists, the Federal Reserve, and appear to contrast the sour sentiments that Americans themselves have expressed in opinion polls.

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