Retail sales on the up for fourth month
U.S. retail sales climbed again in October, marking the fourth consecutive months of gains, according to monthly retail sales figures for October released by the Commerce Department.
Sales figures increased 1.2 percent over September sales and 7.3 percent over October 2009. Retail sales excluding auto parts sales were up 0.4 percent over the previous month and 6 percent over October 2009.
Overall retail sales gains in October were bolstered by strong auto and auto parts sales. Among non-auto segments, building supply sales led the way in October with sales up 1.9 percent over September and an impressive 12.2 percent increase over October 2009. Although up only slightly in October, clothing and sporting goods sales rose substantially over October 2009, with gains of 3.5 and 6.7 percent, respectively.
“Although still cautious and in search of value, the American consumer has returned,” said Retail Industry Leaders Association President Sandy Kennedy. “With four consecutive months of sales gains, retailers are happy to turn the page on the last three years and embrace a more optimistic future. As the holiday shopping season arrives, retailers are eager to attract these shoppers back to their stores with attractive product assortments and great deals.'
Unemployment, which has been the single-largest drag on consumer spending, showed some easing in October with total job gains of 151,000, with 159,000 coming from the private sector.