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December Retail Sales Drop 1.9 Percent as Inflation Hits US Consumers

U.S retail sales sharply fell 1.9 percent in December, as inflation and supply issues hit prices, according to a Commerce Department report on Jan 14. The disappointing results were worse than the Dow Jones’s estimate, which had earlier predicted a 0.1 percent drop. The new surge in Omicron cases is being blamed as a factor for the decline in consumer confidence, as well as high prices. The bad news put an end to what had been an otherwise strong year in which post-2020 pandemic sales had recovered with a rise of 16.9 percent. Weak online holiday sales were responsible for much of the slide, witnessing a plunge of 8.7 percent in sales for the month. There was also a fall in spending on outdoor dining, which had earlier posted a 41.3 percent annual gain for the year. Last month’s sharp decline in consumer spending followed a record-level 1.8 percent gain in October …

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