Retail Sales in the U.S. outside of auto dealers climbed in September, indicating households were sustaining the economic expansion before the government shutdown shook confidence.
The 0.4 percent gain in purchases excluding vehicles followed a 0.1 percent increase in August and matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Total sales dropped 0.1 percent, restrained by the biggest decrease at auto dealers since October 2012, as purchases early in the month were included in the August data.
Americans snapped up the newest cellular phones and video games last month as low borrowing costs and rising household wealth backed by improving home and stock prices gave them the wherewithal to sustain demand. At the same time, the 16-gay partial closing of federal agencies may have upended spending this month as consumers grew increasingly concerned it would hurt the world’s largest economy.
The increase in demand “is somewhat reassuring,” Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said before the report. “Consumers aren’t pulling back sharply.”
Another report today showed wholesale prices in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in September as food costs retreated, an indication inflation remains tame. The 0.1 percent drop in the producer price index followed a 0.3 percent gain the prior month, according to Labor Department data.