Retail Sales Surged in September

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US retail sales were lower than expected last month but recovered from the prior month's 0.2% slide.

A poll of economists had forecast that retail sales would rise 1.9% compared with sales in September 2016.

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With the monthly increase, the Commerce Department said total retail sales in September were up by 4.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago. The July 2017 to August 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.2percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1% (±0.1%)*.

Retail sales increased 4.4% on an annual basis. Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, retail sales came in at $483.9billion. Nonstore retail sales rose 9.2% year over year.

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Higher gas prices contributed to the jump in retail sales, as sales by gasoline stations soared by 5.8 percent during the month. Sales at nonstore retailers grew 0.5% following August's 0.4% decline. As a standalone category, auto sales were up 3.6 percent for the month and 4 percent for the year.

Auto sales were a fair slice of the increase. The gains are likely due to recovery work following the hurricanes that struck the Gulf Coast.

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