December retail sales fall 1.1% after slipping in November

Americans cut back on spending in December, the second consecutive month they’ve done so, underscoring how inflation and the rising cost of using credit cards slowed consumer activity over the crucial holiday shopping season, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Retail sales fell 1.1% in December, following a revised 1% drop in November, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. In October, retail sales ticked up 1.3%, helped by early holiday shopping

Auto sales declined as rising interest rates for auto loans crimped demand. That, and falling gas prices, helped to pull overall retail sales lower. Yet even excluding sales from auto and gasoline, retail sales slipped 0.7%. Retail sales are not adjusted for inflation unlike many other government reports.

Sales fell 1.1% at electronics and appliance stores; furniture and home furnishing stores saw a 2.5% drop. And department stores suffered a 6.6% decline.