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US retail sales rise 1.1 percent

CFOWorld.co.uk staff | Oct. 17, 2011
Retail sales across the US picked up at their fastest pace for seven months during September, the latest data showed on Friday.

Retail sales across the US picked up at their fastest pace for seven months during September, the latest data showed on Friday.

The numbers from the US Commerce Department offered some positive news on prospects for the world's largest economy as stock markets continue to cause concern.

Overall sales increased by 1.1 percent last month as the auto industry saw particularly strong growth. Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of activity within the US economy, which managed only 1 percent expansion during the first six months of the year.

Sales of motor vehicles and parts rose 3.6 percent, the biggest gain since March 2010. That increase - along with higher sales of furniture, gasoline and electronics - made up for lower grocery store and building material receipts. Spending at restaurants and bars also rose.

US economic growth in the first half of the year was hit by a spike in gasoline prices and a March earthquake catastrophe in Japan that clogged up global supply conduits and hurt auto output.

But even excluding autos, sales increased 0.6 percent in September, above forecasts for a 0.3 percent gain.

Consumer confidence rebounded modestly in September after dipping in early August to its lowest in more than three decades.

Confidence sank deeply over the summer when a bruising battle over the US budget slammed stock prices and pushed the nation to the brink of default. Even with September's modest improvement, Americans were still more worried about the economy's outlook than at any point since 1980.

 

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