By  on November 14, 2008

WASHINGTON — Retail sales plunged dramatically in October as the realities of the economic crisis took hold and drove specialty apparel sales down 1.4 percent compared with September, and fueled a 1.3 percent drop in department store sales, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Friday.

Compared with a year earlier, specialty retailers reported a 4 percent decline in sales to $18.1 billion and department stores fell 6.9 percent to $16.2 billion.

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