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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
Nasdaq 4,963.53 -24.36 -0.49%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
Treasuries 2.00 -0.01 -0.69%
Data as of 8:19am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.81 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 128.46 -1.96 -1.50%
General Electric Co 25.99 0.00 0.00%
Microsoft Corp 43.85 0.00 0.00%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 16.68 -0.52 -3.02%
Data as of Feb 27
Sponsors

Sections

Bus drivers for Apple, Yahoo, Amtrak, eBay, Genentech and Zynga have unionized, following in the footsteps of drivers who shuttle Facebook employees. More

The specter of deflation has settled over vast tracks of the global economy, forcing large and small countries alike to examine the cost of falling prices. More

The top 5 consumer complaints have to do with identity theft, debt collectors, imposters, telephone companies and banks. More