Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Retail sales in the U.S., excluding figures from auto dealers, increased in September, a signal that households were keeping the economic momentum before the partial government shutdown hit confidence.
Excluding automobiles, purchases rose 0.4 percent in September from a 0.1 percent gain in August, which is in line with economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg News survey, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday in Washington.
Total sales fell 0.1 percent, slowed down by the biggest decline at auto dealers since October of 2012, as sales figures early in the month were included in the August report.
The median forecast of 86 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for total retail sales to stay unchanged. The estimates ranged from a drop of 0.3 percent to a gain of 0.6 percent.
Last month, nine of 13 major categories tracked saw gains in sales, led by electronics dealers’ 0.7 percent rise, the biggest since April, and the 0.9 percent advance in restaurants and grocery stores.
In a separate report released Tuesday, consumer confidence in the U.S. fell in October by the most since August of 2011 as the political standoff in Washington over the budget and the debt ceiling hurt confidence. The Conference Board’s index fell to 71.2 from a revised 80.2 in September, according to the New York-based private research group.