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US Retail Sales Post Strong Across-the-Board Gains in September

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Linda Wentzel shops for clothing at a Costco Wholesale store in East Peoria Illinois

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

Core retail sales - excluding automobiles and parts - grew 1.0%.

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. Data for August was revised to show sales slipping 0.1% instead of the previously reported 0.2% drop. Without auto sales, the month-over-month increase in overall sales was 1 percent. Vehicle sales totaled $91.19 billion last month on an unadjusted basis, down from $97.14 billion in August and up from $87.28 billion in September 2016.

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Building material and garden equipment stores also put in a strong showing, with sales ahead by 2.1% to $32.31bn while gasoline station sales were 5.8% higher at $39.41bn.

Adjusted for seasonal variations and other items, total retail sales for the month came in at $483.9 billion, up 1.6% month over month and 4.4% above the September 2016 total. Ex-auto sales had been expected to rise by 0.3 percent. Non-store (internet) continued to eat the lunch of certain of those losing categories (especially electronics), with sales up 0.5 percent for the month and 9.2 percent for the year.

Sales at miscellaneous store retailers fell 0.6% month over month but gained 0.1% year over year.

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