Retail sales plunged by the largest amount on
record in October as the financial crisis and the slumping economy
caused consumers to sharply cut back on their spending.
The Commerce Department says retail sales fell by 2.8 percent
last month, surpassing the old mark of a 2.65 percent drop in
November 2001 in the wake of the terrorist attacks that year.
The decline in sales was led by a huge drop in auto purchases,
but sales of all types of products from furniture to clothing fell
as consumers retrenched.