US retail sales drop 0.3 percent in October
WASHINGTON - US retail sales fell in October after Americans spent less on a broad range of goods. Superstorm Sandy may have also slowed business at the end of the month.
The Commerce Department says sales dropped 0.3 percent after three months of gains. Auto sales fell 1.5 percent, the most in more than a year.
Excluding autos, gas and building materials, sales fell 0.1 percent. That followed a 0.9 percent gain in September for that category.
Online and catalog purchases fell 1.8 percent, the most in a year. Electronics and clothing stores also posted lower sales.
The government said Sandy "had both positive and negative effects" on sales. Some stores and restaurants closed and lost business. Others reported sales increases ahead of the storm as people bought supplies.