WASHINGTON — Retail sales fell 0.3% in December, while sales for the entire year fell the most in 17 years, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, excluding autos for the month of December, sales fell 0.2% while sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers fell 0.8%.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected retail sales to increase 0.5% in December and for sales excluding autos to increase 0.3%.

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