Analysts surprised by November’s dip in retail sales

Herald staff

WASHINGTON — Americans, feeling less confident in the economy, tightened their belts in November, driving down sales at the nation’s retailers for the first time in seven months.

With recent holiday sales lackluster, Grinches may outnumber Santas this year.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that retail sales fell by 0.4 percent last month, surprising analysts who expected sales to rise slightly. In October, sales were flat.

  • Wednesday prices: Gold sold for $269.60, silver sold for $4.67 and platinum sold for $610.20.

  • Whirlpool slashes staff: Whirlpool Corp. plans to cut up to 10 percent of its work force — about 6,000 jobs — as it looks to cut costs amid weakening demand, higher materials costs and increased price competition.

  • AOL decision today: Nearly a year after announcing the biggest merger in U.S history, America Online and Time Warner await a decisive vote Thursday by antitrust regulators, who have raised concerns that the $111 billion deal could limit consumer choice for Internet content and access. The companies have already agreed to conditions aimed at preventing them from dominating the developing online world — steps some anticipate will win over a majority of the five-member Federal Trade Commission.

  • Passengers stranded: A severe Detroit storm left 139 Northwest Airlines passengers bound for Miami stuck in one plane and then another Monday for about seven hours during mechanical and weather delays.
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