U.S. retail sales rose in September as lower gasoline prices and a soaring stock market bolstered consumer spending, according to final data by SpendingPulse on Monday (Oct. 9).
Reuters reported that Americans splurged on clothes and back-to-school items last month, offering retailers’ hopes of a solid year-end shopping season, SpendingPulse said.
Seasonal adjusted retail sales, excluding autos, grew 0.3% for a second straight month in September, below the preliminary reading of a 0.4% gain released a week ago, said SpendingPulse.
In dollar terms, September seasonally adjusted ex-auto sales reached $287.7 billion, up 5.3% from a year ago,
“Overall the data are providing more optimism on consumer spending than a couple of months ago,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at SpendingPulse, a retail data service of MasterCard Advisors, an arm of MasterCard Worldwide.
Growth in consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the economy, showed signs of accelerating last month after falling this summer when gasoline prices were hovering near record highs.
Regular unleaded gasoline averaged $2.31 a gallon in the last week in September, down 62 cents from the same period a year earlier and at its lowest weekly level since late February, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Factoring out gasoline and autos, retail sales improved 0.6% from August’s levels, SpendingPulse said.