US Retail Sales Spike 1.6% In September Amid Higher Gas Prices

US retail sales jump in September on strong demand for autos

USA retail sales soared in September led by a surge in those for motor vehicles and parts.

The U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday retail sales posted strong gains in September, driven in part by replacement demand and auto sales. Without auto sales, the month-over-month increase in overall sales was 1 percent. The July 2017 to August 2017 percent change was revised from down 0.2percent (±0.5 percent)* to down 0.1% (±0.1%)*.

Last month's increase in retail sales was the largest since March 2015.

Retail trade sales were up 1.7% (±0.5%) from August 2017, and up 4.7% (±0.7%) from past year. Nonstore retailer sales are up 9.2% year-over-year as online retailers continue to grow their market share.

Economists had expected retail sales to spike by 1.7 percent compared to the 0.2 percent drop originally reported for the previous month. As a standalone category, vehicle sales were up 3.6 percent for the month and 4 percent for the year.

Higher gas prices contributed to the jump in retail sales, as sales by gasoline stations soared by 5.8 percent during the month. Food services and bars saw a sales increase of 0.8% month over month and 2.7% year over year.

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