The value of overall retail purchases dropped 0.6 percent last month, the largest decline this year and double what economists expected. The number is not adjusted for inflation as gauged by the Labor Department’s consumer price index, which increased 0.1% in November, which also was below expectations. This downturn came after a rise of 1.3 percent in October, despite the fact that November had some of the most highly-promoted discount shopping days of the year. Most attribute this downward trend to high interest rates, inflation, and the slowing economy.
Nine of 13 retail categories fell last month, including motor vehicles and electronics. The largest declines included a 2.6% drop in sales at furniture and home goods stores and a 2.5% fall in building material and garden center sales. The value of sales at gasoline stations were down 0.1 percent as pump prices fell. Grocery store sales, despite rising prices, showed an uptick, as consumers shifted their attention from durable goods to staples.