by M. Corey Goldman
U.S. consumers dramatically scaled back on their purchases and limited holiday shopping in November as the coronavirus pandemic triggered new business restrictions and outright closures, snapping a six-month stretch of retail sales growth.
U.S. retail sales fell 1.1% to $546.5 billion last month, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, down from a revised negative 0.1% pace in October. Economists polled by FactSet had been expecting a decline of 0.3% in November.
The decline marks the first month-over-month drop in the department’s measure of spending at stores, vehicle dealerships, restaurants and online since April. It also reflects a broader retrenchment in spending amid a second wave of Covid-19 infections as well as stalling employment and broader economic growth.