United States retail sales leapt 1.6 pct. last month, most in 2 ½ years

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

US retail sales jump in September on strong demand for autos

With gasoline prices showing a substantial increase, the Commerce Department released a report on Friday showing a significant jump in retail sales in the U.S.in the month of September.

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. As a standalone category, vehicle sales were up 3.6 percent for the month and 4 percent for the year. Gasoline Stations were up 11.4% (±1.4%) from September2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 10.7% (±2.1%) from a year ago.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores increased 1.7% from September a year ago, well below the broad retail sector's 4.7% gain, according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce report. The nine-month total for gas stations is up 8.5% year over year, due largely to higher pump prices. Sales were down 0.4% from the month before - based on an August sales estimate revised down slightly to $9.61 billion. The year-over-year overall increase was even stronger, however, at 4.6 percent without auto sales. Sales at nonstore retailers grew 0.5% following August's 0.4% decline. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores had a month-over-month sales decline of 0.2% and a year-over-year drop of 5.5%.

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