WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers cut back on spending at retail stores for a record fifth straight month in November amid a recession that is already the longest in a quarter-century.
The Commerce Department says retail sales dropped by 1.8 percent last month.
The decline, which was slightly below the 1.9 percent dip that had been expected, was the fifth straight monthly drop, a stretch of weakness never before seen on the government's retail sales records.
The weakness was led by a 2.8 percent fall in auto sales, a decline that had been expected given that automakers already had reported that November was their worst sales month in more than 26 years.
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