Economy Watch: Retail Sales Enjoys Strong September

Economy Watch: Retail Sales Enjoys Strong September

Americans increased their spending at retailers last month by the most in two and a half years, driven by strong auto sales as residents of hurricane-ravaged areas replaced destroyed cars.

With gasoline prices showing a substantial increase, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a significant jump in retail sales in the the month of September.

Gasoline station sales rose 5.8% month over month and are up 11.4% year over year.

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From July through September, furniture and home furnishings store sales were up 3.8% from the same three months previous year and increased 0.2% from April-through-June period, the report said.

Versus the year-earlier period, retail sales volumes grew 4.4%. Auto sales totaled $91.19 billion last month on an unadjusted basis, down from $97.14 billion in August and up from $87.28 billion in September 2016. The nine-month total for gas stations is up 8.5% year over year, due largely to higher pump prices. Sales were also 4.4 percent above September 2016, and the monthly change from July 2017 to August 2017 was revised from down 0.2 percent to down 0.1 percent.

Three retail subcategories repeated as the only sectors posting year-over-year sales declines: department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores; electronics and appliance stores; and sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores.

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