Retail sales dropped for a third consecutive month, as a surge in virus instances kept people from shops throughout the holiday shopping season

Retail sales dropped for a third consecutive month for a spike in virus instances kept people from shops during the important holiday shopping season.

The report published Friday is still another indication that the pandemic is slowing down the U.S. market. And authorities figures this week reported that a spike in annual unemployment claims, suggesting that climbing infections are forcing companies to cut back and lay off workers.

They also dropped in October and November, though many retailers attempted to get folks shopping early because of their Christmas presents by providing bargains before Halloween.

Some retailers have already suggested that they had a miserable holiday season.

The Commerce Department said shoppers cut back spending electronic and department stores. Earnings even dropped onlinedown almost 6 percent after increasing 19 percent for year.

At clothes shops, sales climbed 2.4% after falling 16 percent for the year. However, the largest increase was gas stations, probably because individuals took road trips throughout the holidays, helping earnings increase 6.6percent after falling 12 percent for the year.

Friday’s report covers just about a third of total consumer spending. Services such as haircuts and resort stays, that have been severely hurt by the outbreak, aren’t included.