Retail sales of clothing and accessories edged up by 0.5% in September, despite the overall figures taking a hit from a nosedive in automotive sales.

According to seasonally adjusted US Census Bureau advance estimates, retail sales fell 1.5% compared to August, to US$344.7bn.

The figure was also down 5.7% down on September 2008.

However, the figures were distorted by the 10.4% slump in automotive sales after the end of the US "cash for clunkers" scheme.

Excluding automotive sales, retail sales were up 0.5% on August, a rise mirrored by the sales increase for clothing and accessories.

However, clothing and accessories revenues were still down 1.3% on the same period last year.