WASHINGTON -- The sluggish economy prompted consumers to spendless. Or, when the going gets tough, apparently the tough don'tshop.

Retail sales fell 2.8% in October, the fourth consecutivemonthly decline, the Commerce Department reported today.

Total retail and fuel sales were $363.7 billion last monthOctober. That was both a decrease from September's numbers and a 4%drop from October 2007.

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