Retail sales increased 0.4 percent from August and a better-than-expected 5.7 percent over last September, as shoppers continued to show strength during a weak economic recovery, according to the National Retail Federation.
Meanwhile, September retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 1.1 percent month-to-month and 8.6 percent over last year, partially due to strong auto sales.
“The American consumer and the retail industry continue to lead this recovery, and strong September retail sales are just what the economy needs right now,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The unexpectedly strong sales increase in September may work to dampen fears of a double-dip recession and could indicate an economic and employment rebound.”
Much of September’s strength came as a result of retail sales increases due to Hurricane Irene and an influx of shoppers who chose to complete back-to-school shopping later this year. Building materials stores rose 6.4 percent over last year, sporting goods stores were up 7.2 percent and clothing store sales increased 8.3 percent. August retail sales were revised upward to 0.4 from July, which was originally reported as 0.1%.
Earlier this month, NRF forecast holiday sales to rise 2.8 percent this year to $466 billion. NRF defines holiday sales as retail industry sales in the months of November and December.
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