Sales at clothing stores climbed 0.4% year-on-year in October

Sales at clothing stores climbed 0.4% year-on-year in October

Lower fuel prices, accelerated job growth, wages and salary gains helped drive an increase in US retail sales in October ahead of the biggest selling season of the year.

The latest figures from the US Commerce Department, which include cars, gasoline and restaurants, found October retail sales climbed 0.3% from September and grew 3.8 over October last year.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores edged up 0.5% month-on-month, and climbed 0.4% on October last year.

At general merchandise stores, sales were flat on September, but rose 2% year-on-year. Department stores saw sales slip 0.3% month-on-month, and were down 3.5% on October last year. For sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, sales climbed 1.2% from September, and increased 1.7% year-on-year.

According to separate data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, overall October retail sales increased 0.7% month-on-month and grew 4.4% year-on-year.

"Consumers regained the energy to spend again in October, removing some of the concerns surrounding the slower consumer spending results seen as of late," said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.

"Much of the spending power stems from lower gas prices, accelerated job growth, wages and salary gains, and the recent rise in stock prices. We expect that the next two months will bring forth confident holiday shoppers who have the ability and desire to spend on gifts and more."

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay added: "Consumers have once again proven resilient to the pressures they are still facing from a slow-moving economic recovery, receiving a helping hand from lower costs at the pump and gains in the labour market.

"Moving forward, retailers will continue to find ways to entice holiday shoppers with great bargains while also focusing on other value-added promotions. It is clear that Americans have the spending power, they just need to see continued improvement in the economy before they return to shopping habits from pre-recession."