Retail Sales Up 1.1% in September

Retail salesBy MARTIN CRUTSINGER

Americans stepped up their spending at retail businesses in September, reflecting higher consumer confidence. The increase was driven by another strong month of auto sales and the release of the iPhone5.

Retail sales rose 1.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted $412.9 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday. That followed a 1.2 percent increase in August, which was revised slightly higher. Both were the largest gains since October 2010.

Sales rose last month in most major categories. Electronics and appliances surged 4.5 percent, in part because of iPhone sales. Sales at auto dealers increased 1.3 percent. Building materials and garden supplies, furniture and clothing sales all gained, too.

The retail sales report is closely watched because it is the government's first monthly look at consumer spending, which drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity.

Economists said the September gains should help drive stronger growth in the July-September quarter.

"We expect growth to accelerate in the final quarter of the year and are supported in this view by the strong showing in retail sales," said James Marple, senior economist at TD Economics.

But some economists cautioned that the jump was driven by iPhone sales and the gain may be reversed in coming months.

"This shouldn't be considered the start of a consumer revival," cautioned Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

Some of the increase was driven by higher prices. Gas station sales also rose 2.5 percent. And food sales increased 1.2 percent. The recent drought may have driven some food prices higher, economists noted.

Still, excluding autos and gas, sales were up a solid 0.9 percent in September.

High unemployment and weak pay increases have kept consumers from spending more freely this year. That has held back growth. The economy grew at a weak 1.3 percent rate in the April-June quarter. Most economists believe growth will stay around 2 percent for the rest of the year.

Despite weaker growth, consumers grew more confident in September. The Conference Board reported its confidence index rose last month to the highest reading since February.

The job market also looked a little better in September. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent in August. It was the first time the rate has been below 8 percent since January 2009.

And U.S. auto companies reported that sales rose 13 percent in September from a year earlier to nearly 1.2 million. Analysts think sales could hit 14.3 million this year, up from 12.8 million last year. The Federal Reserves' aggressive policies have kept interest rates low, encouraging some Americans to replace aging vehicles.

Sales at building materials and garden supply dealers rose 1.1 percent in September. Sales at furniture stores were up 0.4 percent. Sales at specialty clothing stores rose 0.6 percent. Sales at general merchandise stores, a category that includes big retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, were up 0.3 percent in September following a 0.3 percent drop in August.

Sales at non-store retailers, the category that covers online shopping, rose 1.8 percent.

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47 Comments

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dt1064

Damn, didn't want to help Owe-bama by buying a new truck. Just couldn't wait though. (At least it wasn't from Government Motors, or Goat trucks.)

October 15 2012 at 11:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bobjimflys

Retail sales are up, really, if you are counting California, it is probably the Giant increase in Gasoline prices. Highest in the Nation of major populations areas.
I heard on the radio, they said home prices went up one percent last quarter, that is probably becasue the Banks have yet to dump all the foreclosed homes back on the market. Waiting for that shoe to drop...

October 15 2012 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bobjimflys's comment
mrblockhead22

Im waiting for another shoe to get thrown at Bush.

October 15 2012 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrblockhead22's comment
t_trevor1

I suppose as tragic as it must be for you to live in the present, living in the past is all that is left.

October 16 2012 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
nj666

This isn\'t a complete picture. The gains were mostly in sales of the Apple Ipad 5 and gasoline and food increases. Otherwise the outlook is very bad. Actual figures show that we are going into a recession.

October 15 2012 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

Is it my turn to copy and paste trash from the bowels of Moveon.org? Please can it be my turn?

pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzz

ohhhhhhhhhhhh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

October 15 2012 at 8:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

mrblockhead22 = Harry Reid the obstructionist.

October 15 2012 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

Joe Biden said that he says what he means. He made that statement twice during the debate last week.

In 2008 Joe Biden said that Obama was unqualified to be president and that there was no time for on the job training.

Now keep in mind Joe Bidens says what he means.

2 weeks ago Joe Biden said the last 4 years under Obama have buried the middle class. Joe was right again.

October 15 2012 at 8:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment
democracks0

Now you wouldn't call Joe Biden a liar would you?

October 15 2012 at 8:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

mrblockhead22
democracks0.,Obama failed to create jobs. Really?.....the unemployment when Obama came into office was over 10% now it's below 8%. Did you forget the republicans have well earned the title,....THE PARTY OF NO! Once again you fail to provide any facts you just want people to take your words for it.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LMAO Facts? Obamite facthssssss.

Obama created nothing. Just last week you were posting where are the jobs??? You Obamites need to get your act together. Which is it? There are millions out of work and if you believe that unemployment is under 8% then you really are a simple minded dopey Obamite.

The democrook party of know nothing and do nothing has got to go.

Obamas a fiasco

October 15 2012 at 8:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Jim Guy

retail sales up??? That is great.....Can you say $4.00 gas??????...just saying.......

October 15 2012 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris1011

Romney is entitled to his many homes, including the one with an elevator in the garage. He is entitled to his many yachts, including the one that flies the Cayman Islands flag. Romney is entitled to set up his son Tagg with a cushy hedge fund job, so Tagg can continue the family legacy of making millions without making anything.
Romney is not, however, entitled to lie his way to the presidency. Unless, of course, enough Americans are foolish enough to elect him and his young disciple and enough Americans are prevented from not voting for him. We have a choice in 22 days. Let's not blow it.

October 15 2012 at 6:59 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chris1011's comment
rjen164497

Tell us what lies. There isn't room here for the Obama lies. The Americans killed in Bangahzi were killed by riots over a u2 veto right? Obama care didn't take money from medicare, right? Everything is Bushes fault.
Romney has only one fault. He may be too honest. You can not name one thing dishonet about Romney. Only what lies your Socialist party has told you.

October 15 2012 at 7:09 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
t_trevor1

Thinking Americans would be ashamed to mindlessly bleat Obama's multiple lies.

But not chris. being a dumbest 1%er means he has no shame.

October 15 2012 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
missmymind2353

RETAIL SPENDING WAS UP BECAUSE SEPTEMBER IS BACK TO SCHOOL MONTH. BUT ITS NOT UP IN GENERAL. DON'T BE FOOLED.

October 15 2012 at 6:42 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply