US consumer spending unexpectedly slow in November, Latest Business News - The New Paper

US consumer spending unexpectedly slow in November

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WASHINGTON: US retail spending was unexpectedly sluggish last month as consumers held back at the start of the holiday shopping period, according to a government report on Friday.

Shoppers tightened their purse strings at bars, restaurants and department stores while buying less clothing and fewer sporting goods, according to the Commerce Department's monthly data.

The sales pace undershot forecasts and could weigh on gross domestic product (GDP) calculations for the final three months of the year.

The weaker figures contrasted sharply with industry data showing retailers had done a roaring trade during the post-Thanksgiving sales blitz on Black Friday and "Cyber Monday" - although the latter promotional shopping day fell in December.

Compared to October, total retail sales rose 0.2 per cent to US$528 billion (S$715 billion), seasonally adjusted, less than half the gain economists had forecast, the Commerce Department data showed.

The slowdown appeared larger because October's estimate was revised upward by a tenth of a point to 0.4 per cent.

November sales were 3.3 per cent higher than the same month last year.

Online retailers like Amazon continued to rise but health and personal care sales were among the many decliners. - AFP