Producer prices for finished goods fell 0.2 percent last month, the first drop in more than a year, as prices of food, energy and other goods all went down, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

In another report, the Commerce Department said retail sales dipped 0.1 percent in October to a level of $127.4 billion, primarily because of a 2.6 percent decline in sales by auto dealers. Since February, monthly retail sales have gone up only $3 billion, not enough to cover inflation during the period. However, the October retail sales figures were better than some analysts had expected.

Many forecasters anticipate that consumer spending will decline in coming months, partly as a result of the loss of wealth associated with the stock market plunge last month. With many employes' wages not rising as fast as prices, and with personal savings rates close to their lowest levels in history, analysts believe consumers will cut back their purchases to bring their outlays more in line with their real incomes.

The fall in producer prices followed a 0.3 percent increase in September and no change in August. It left the index 2.6 percent higher than it was in October 1986, the report said.

Separate indexes for producer prices for intermediate goods and crude materials rose 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, last month.

The intermediate goods index, which covers components and other partially processed items, went up 5 percent in the past 12 months.

The crude materials index rose 9.8 percent in the year, as a result of earlier price increases for a wide range of products, including crude oil, scrap metal, timber and grains.

Even though many raw materials prices have gone up as the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has made solid production gains in the past several months, some economists believe continuing moderate increases in wages and fringe benefits will keep producer prices from accelerating sharply.

"In the last 30 years, the producer price index inflation rate has exceeded the rate of increase of manufacturing earnings on only two occasions {the oil price shocks of 1973 and 1979}, and these lasted only a couple of years each," said William C. Melton, senior economist at IDS Financial Services in Minneapolis.

"The upper {limit} set by wage gains will probably be exceeded this year as well -- but not for long, if history is any guide," Melton added.

The index for finished energy goods fell 1 percent last month after a 3.7 percent drop in September. However, home heating oil prices went up 2.2 percent, following a big 11.4 percent decline the month before. Gasoline prices fell only slightly, but natural gas prices went down 2.7 percent.

Prices for capital goods, such as machine tools, trucks and construction equipment, fell 0.4 percent in October after going up 0.7 percent in September. Last month's drop left the index up only 1.5 percent from October 1986.

Over the year, consumer food prices were only 0.2 percent higher. Prices for consumer goods other than food and energy were up 2.5 percent. Finished energy goods were up 13.8 percent.

The Commerce Department said retail sales other than at auto dealers rose 0.7 percent in October, with sales increasing at every other type of store except gasoline service stations, where they fell 0.2 percent.

The 0.1 percent October drop in total sales came after a larger 1.1 percent decline in September, both of which were due to significant decreases in auto sales that followed the end of sales incentive programs by many manufacturers.

Since monthly sales figures can be erratic, most analysts prefer to look at changes over periods of three months or more. The department said the level of sales for August through October was up 1.5 percent from those of the previous three-month period. Auto sales were up 3 percent and other sales up 0.7 percent.