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NEW YORK – The nation's retailers posted a surprise sales decline for November after two consecutive months of gains, as a modestly positive start to holiday shopping wasn't strong enough to offset weak spending the rest of the month.
The 0.3 percent decrease, according to one measure, is especially worrisome because it comes on top of a freefall last November as spooked shoppers went into a defensive crouch after the financial meltdown. Analyst had expected a strong gain.