Clothing store sales were up 0.7% in the month

Clothing store sales were up 0.7% in the month

US retail sales rose for the fourth month in a row in October, official figures said yesterday (15 November), giving some hope that consumer spending is building momentum in the run-up to the holiday season.

Figures released by the US Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 1.2% over September, and 5.4% year-on-year.

Stripping out the impact of automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, retail industry sales were 0.3% ahead of September and 2.6% higher than last year.

“This continued momentum is good news for the industry, especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approaching,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“While there is no question that consumer demand has improved, there are still questions about consumer confidence tied to high unemployment. We need to see improvement in key economic indicators to sustain any long-term growth.”

Cooler, seasonal weather in October helped apparel and sporting goods stores’ sales. Clothing and clothing accessory stores sales were up 0.7% over last month and 1.4% over last year.

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores increased 1.0% month-to-month and 5.9% year-over-year.

“It appears the fourth quarter has gotten off to a solid start,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “October’s results are a clear indicator that the economy and consumer spending continue to show marked improvement, even though we expect consumers to proceed with caution.”