WASHINGTON — There was no holiday cheer for retailers as consumers dramatically reduced their spending.

Retail sales fell 2.78% in December, the sixth consecutive monthly decline, the Commerce Department reported today. Last month's figures were 9.8% less than those in November 2007. Overall sales for 2008 were .1% less than 2007.

Total retail and food sales in December were $343 billion, down from the revised figure of $352.6 billion for November.

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