Bookstore sales had their steepest decline in the year in November, falling 8.6%, to $941 million, according to preliminary estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The November drop followed a 6.6% decline in October and reflects the absence of Borders. The defunct chain closed its last stores in September and its going-out-of business sales helped to boost sales in August and September. Sales at college stores also helped to lift overall sales numbers in the late summer. With the drop in October and November, bookstore sales for the first 11 months of 2011 were up 1.2%. At the end of September sales were running 2.8% ahead of 2010.

For the entire retail segment, sales rose 7.0% in November and were up 7.9% in the year to date.