U.S. retail logs nine-year record decline in December

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Commerce Department belatedly released December’s retail sales statistics this week, showing a surprise 1.2% drop in activity from November. That figure, whose publication was delayed by the recent U.S. government shutdown, marks the sharpest decline since September 2009, in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted on average a 0.2% uptick in sales. Compared with December 2017, retail sales were up 2.3%.