US recession deepens as figures reveal slump in retail sales

| January 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

The US Commerce Department has revealed that retail sales in the world’s largest economy have fallen for the sixth consecutive month.

Fears of a more prolonged recession are rife after figures show that US shoppers visited the stores less over the festive period.

In December, sales plummeted by 2.7% - more than double analysts predictions and followed a fall of 2.1% decline in November. Retail sales for the 2008 year were down 0.1%.

Stock markets did not take the news well after Wall Street lost 275.66 points as European markets closed. London’s FTSE 100 index closed down 218.51 points, while Germany’s DAX lost 202.41 point. France’s CAC-40 ended 4.5% lower.

The figures are a concern since big savings at the pumps did little to boost spending, according to economists.

The figures showed that almost all areas of retail sales plunged with car sales down 0.7% and 22.4% below the level experienced a year ago.

Just a week ago, a series of US retailers announced poor sales figures, most notably, discount giant Wal-Mart.

Meanwhile Greyhound, the renowned intercity bus service which operates in the US and Canada, reported a poor performance over the crucial Thanksgiving and Christmas period.

Like-for-like revenue at Greyhound fell 4.5% in the three months to the end of December. Shares in the company fell 8% following the news.

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