It was not a happy Christmas for US retailers as their sales were much worse than expected in December.
The latest figures show that the deteriorating economy and rising unemployment forced American consumers to cut back on spending during the key holiday period. The US Commerce Department said retail sales fell the sixth straight month and were down 2.7 percent last month. It revised the November figures downwards, showing sales in that month were down 2.1 percent compared with the same month a year earlier. For the whole of last year all retail sales were down 0.1 percent on 2007.