CHRISTOPHER RUGABER and ANNE D'INNOCENZIO AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales plummeted 8.7% in March, an unprecedented decline, as the viral outbreak forced an almost complete lockdown of commerce nationwide. The deterioration of sales far outpaced the previous record decline of 3.9% that took place during the depths of the Great Recession in November 2008. Auto sales dropped 25.6%, while clothing store sales collapsed, sliding 50.5%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Restaurants and bars reported a nearly 27% fall in revenue. U.S. consumer confidence has plunged and the vast majority of Americans are hunkered down at home under shelter-in-place orders. Consumer spending drives two-thirds of the U.S. economy, and the record drop in retail sales is a sympt
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