WASHINGTON — The U.S. October retail sales data were dismal, as expected, but the pace of decline was more than anticipated, suggesting the economy remains in retreat in the fourth quarter.

October retail sales printed down 2.8%, a record drop since the series was re-set in 1992 to upgrade food sales. Ex-auto sales fell 2.2%, and ex-auto and gas sales fell 0.5%. The latter shows a large part of the drop related to plunging energy prices.

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