U.S. Retail Sales Rose 0.6%, Pointing to Confident Consumers

Household spending and the broader U.S. economy remain on track for decent growth despite growing consumer angst over the heated presidential campaign.

Sales at retail stores, online retailers and restaurants rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in September from the prior month, matching economists’ expectations for a rebound after sales fell 0.2% in August, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Stronger auto sales and rising gasoline prices boosted the headline figure last month, and spending excluding gas and autos rose a more modest 0.3%, though that was still the best gain in three months.

“We didn’t get as much of a rebound as we expected, but for the quarter as a whole we’re on track for pretty solid consumption growth,” BNP Paribas economist Laura Rosner said. “We’re still in healthy territory.”

Retail sales in September were up 2.7% from a year earlier, up from 2.1% annual growth in August and easily outpacing price inflation. Sales for the third quarter as a whole rose 2.4% from the same period in 2015.

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