Consumer spending increased in September

Consumers stepped up their retail spending in September.
They spent more on automobiles, clothing and furniture last month to boost retail sales 1.1 percent from August, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. That was the largest gain in seven months.
Businesses added to their inventories for a 20th consecutive month and their sales rose for a third month in August. Inventories increased 0.5 percent, matching July’s gain. Sales at manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers climbed 0.3 percent.
The retail sales report said auto sales rose 3.6 percent to drive the overall September increase, which was up 7.9 percent from a year ago. Demand was high for SUVs and pickups, even though a gallon of gas cost nearly $1 more last month than a year ago.
Major retailers also reported strong demand. The International Council of Shopping Centers said revenue rose 5.5 percent last month compared with sales a year ago.
For the holiday shopping period, the National Retail Federation expects sales to rise 2.8 percent, which would be smaller than the 5.2 percent increase during last year’s holidays but slightly ahead of the 2.6-percent average increase for November and December sales over the past 10 years.

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