A customer shops at an H&M clothing store in San Francisco, Calif.
A customer shops at an H&M clothing store in San Francisco, Calif. - 
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Scott Jagow: The holiday shopping season might be missing one important thing: shopping. We got the latest retail sales numbers this morning, and they are awful. Sales were down 1.2 percent in September. That's the third straight month of declines, something that hasn't happened since at least 1992. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: The fall in sales came in almost every category from cars to groceries.

Mike Moran is chief economist of Daiwa Securities America. Adding to the gloom, he says retail results for July and August were revised lower, underscoring how hesitant consumers have become. Moran says 1.2 percent was a particularly big drop:

Mike Moran: I don't think we'll be that soft month after month, but I think the outlook for consumer spending is generally poor. We're likely to see consumers spending very cautiously because of what they've seen happen in the financial markets and because of the soft job situation right now.

He says even though energy costs have dropped somewhat, they're still high enough that many consumers are cutting back on shopping. He says this year's holiday season could be the worst in years.

In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.