NEW YORK — U.S. retail sales in September grew at their fastest pace in six months, beating forecasts and rising 1.1%, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Excluding the auto sector, sales rose 0.6%, also better than expected. The increase gave retailers renewed hope for the upcoming holiday season.
The Commerce Department also reported that sales for August, which originally were reported as unchanged, were revised up to a 0.3% increase.
“Consumers remain relatively resilient,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa., in a Bloomberg report. “It’s evident they don’t want to cut back on spending. It’s going to be a decent but not spectacular holiday shopping season.”
The September increase came amid higher purchases of autos, clothing and home furnishings. Ten-of-13 major categories showed increases last month. Apparel sales rose 1.3%, the largest increase in seven months. Sales of home furnishings also were strong, up 1.1%. Purchases at automobile dealers climbed 3.6%, the most since March 2010.