Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Shopper resurgence gains strength

By Charles Riley, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail sales rose in September, the government reported Friday, fueling hopes that momentum will translate into a robust holiday shopping season for retailers.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales rose 0.6% from the previous month to $367.7 billion, compared with August's upwardly revised 0.7% jump. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had anticipated that September sales would grow 0.4%.

Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and related reports such as retail sales are closely watched to gauge the strength of the economy.

Sales excluding autos and auto parts rose by 0.4% from August. Analysts expected sales ex-autos to jump 0.4%.

Strength in auto, electronics and online sales paced the September incline.

Auto and other motor vehicle dealers sales were up 1.6% over August and 19% over a year earlier. Electronics stores reported a 1.5% increase over August, while online stores ticked up by 1%.

"Overall this is a significantly stronger report than expected," Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics wrote in a research note.

Strong retail sales are another indication that shoppers might be ending their hibernation at just the right time for retailers, who rely heavily on holiday shopping to boost profit.

"It is increasingly clear that we are seeing 'frugal fatigue' give way to 'calculated consumption,' " Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group said in a statement.

In a separate report released last week, individual retailers reported strong sales results for September.

Thomson Reuters, which tracks same-store sales for a group of 28 national chains, said total sales for the group rose 2.8% in September.

An important gauge of a retailer's health, same-store sales have been on the rise for 13 months in a row, according to Thomson Reuters. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,975.54 37.63 0.18%
Nasdaq 6,147.96 9.25 0.15%
S&P 500 2,399.79 1.37 0.06%
Treasuries 2.29 0.00 0.09%
Data as of 2:01pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 23.41 0.02 0.09%
General Electric Co 27.69 -0.59 -2.09%
Advanced Micro Devic... 10.94 0.05 0.51%
Ford Motor Co 10.92 -0.13 -1.18%
Micron Technology In... 28.82 0.53 1.86%
Data as of 1:46pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

President Trump may be focused on saving coal miners, but solar continues to be the hot spot in today's jobs market. Solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the total US economy. More

President Trump may be focused on saving coal miners, but solar continues to be the hot spot in today's jobs market. Solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the total US economy. More

Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimate that Waymo -- the self-driving car startup that is owned by Google parent Alphabet -- could be worth $70 billion. It seems like a stretch given that Waymo is unlikely to be profitable until 2022. More

Want to keep more of your money? Do these five things -- each of which takes 20 minutes or less -- so you can cut your spending and fatten your pocketbook. More