Retail Sales Increase .2% in October
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose in October as an increase in purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods offset a decline in demand for building materials, suggesting consumer spending remained fairly strong early in the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday retail sales increased 0.2 percent last month. Data for September was revised to show sales jumping 1.9 percent rather than the previously reported 1.6 percent advance. Retail sales increased 4.6 percent on an annual basis.
Total Retail's Take: This is exactly the news retailers want to hear as they capitalize on the prime holiday shopping months of November and December. Signs point to a healthy holiday season for retailers. Consumer spending increased at a 2.4 percent annualized rate in the third quarter, and consumer confidence jumped to a near 17-year high in October. With the rocky start to 2017 for the retail industry, marked by bankruptcy filings and record store closings, a strong holiday season would be a nice way to close the year and build momentum as we enter 2018.