WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales rose at a healthy pace in October, though the gains were likely boosted by one-time factors such as hurricane recovery spending and higher gas prices.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent last month, following two months of slight declines. Excluding gasoline sales, which were inflated by higher prices, sales climbed a still-solid 0.5 per cent.
The figures suggest that consumers are spending at a modest pace, fueled by steady job gains and mild wage increases. Americans lifted their spending over the summer and fall at the fastest six-month pace in four years. Yet business spending on machinery, computers and buildings barely increased in the July-September quarter, leaving consumers shouldering more of the burden of maintaining growth.