Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in October, a sign that consumer spending was resilient even during the government shutdown.
The 0.4 percent increase was the most in three months and followed no change in September, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 86 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.1 percent October advance. Sales excluding gasoline climbed 0.5 percent.
Fuel costs near their lowest levels in more than two years and household wealth boosted by rising stock and home prices may keep underpinning consumers’ ability to buy. The pickup boosts the outlook for retailers such as Macy’s Inc. heading into the holiday-shopping season.
“Maybe the rhetoric was just a little bit overblown in terms of the magnitude of the economic impact behind the partial government shutdown,” said Michael Brown, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. The firm is the best forecaster of retail sales during the last two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “As we get ready to go into the holiday shopping season, this is welcome news.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a decline of 0.3 percent to a gain of 0.7 percent. The reading for September was revised from an initially reported 0.1 percent decrease.
Stock-index futures rose after the sales data and a separate report showing consumer prices declined. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December increased 0.2 percent to 1,788.3 at 8:46 a.m. in New York.
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