Here is one of the less well publicized retail sales indicators from the US - the real retail sales and food index. This index measures sales in US shops and restaurants and then adjusts them for changes in prices.
The decline in US consumer activity is alarming. In November 2008, retail sales, in real terms, are down over 9 percent compared to the previous year. That kind of decline is more than large enough to send the US into a deep dark recession.