The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012

US retail sales sag as superstorm Sandy slows auto purchases


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US retail sales fell last month for the first time in three months as superstorm Sandy slammed the brakes on automobile purchases, suggesting a loss of momentum in spending early in the fourth quarter.

Sales dipped 0.3 per cent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, after an upwardly revised 1.3 per cent increase in September that was previously reported as a 1.1 percent rise.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to fall 0.2 per cent. The decline partly reflected the impact from superstorm Sandy, which lashed the densely populated East Coast - holding down auto sales.

The Commerce Department said it had received indications from companies that the storm had both positive and negative effects on last month's sales data.