US retail sales rose 4.3% in September on the same month last year, while clothing sales were up 2.7%, according to US Census Bureau estimates.

Overall retail and food service sales increased 4.3% to US$442.7bn, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but were down 0.3% on August.

Total sales for the three months to the end of September were up 4.5% on the same period last year, and retail trade sales rose 4%, but fell 0.4% on August, the Bureau added.

For clothing and clothing accessories stores, sales were up 1.7% for the three-month period to $176.3bn.

Meanwhile, September figures were down 1.2% on August, reaching $21.17bn, but were up 2.7% year-on-year.

Separate figures from the National Retail Federation (NRF), which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, showed retail sales edged down 0.1% month-to-month, but increased 4.6% year-on-year. 

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz described the figures as "surprisingly weak", adding: "Despite increasing consumer confidence, an uptick in employment, lower gas prices, and with inflation in check, consumers still slowed spending."

Although the consumer appears to have a brighter economic outlook heading into the holiday shopping season, Kleinhenz said the "erratic stock market, geopolitical events and Ebola may contribute to continued volatility".