WASHINGTON (AP) -- Retail sales plunged a record 3.7 percent in November as consumers, buffeted by huge job losses, terrorist attacks and a recession, got the holiday sales season off to a dismal start.
The Commerce Department said the record drop in retail sales followed a 6.4 percent upward surge in October, also a record. That big increase was caused by a huge jump in auto sales as Americans responded eagerly to the free financing offers that dealers used to get shoppers back into showrooms following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
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