U.S. re­tail sales up, but signs of cau­tion emerge

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Josh Boak

WASH­ING­TON>> U.S. shop­pers stepped up their spend­ing in Septem­ber, with sharply higher sales at auto deal­ers, restau­rants and gas sta­tions. But the gov­ern­ment’s re­tail sales re­port re­leased Fri­day also con­tained some ev­i­dence that spend­ing might be slow­ing.

For much of this year, con­sumers have spent at a solid pace as in­come gains have ac­cel­er­ated and the job mar­ket has im­proved. Last month’s over­all re­tail sales gain was a de­cent sea­son­ally ad­justed 0.6 per­cent. Much of it, though, was due to higher oil prices, which in­creased how much peo­ple spent at gas sta­tions but were not nec­es­sar­ily a sign of stronger con­sumer spend­ing.

Septem­ber’s over­all in­crease in re­tail sales marked a re­bound from Au­gust’s slug­gish 0.2 per­cent gain, the Com­merce De­part­ment said. Dur­ing the first nine months of the year, re­tail sales have in­creased 2.9 per­cent com­pared with 2015. In­creased sales have helped pro­pel eco­nomic growth and have off­set a di­min­ished U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing base and broader weak­nesses in the global econ­omy.

The re­sults were enough to sus­tain op­ti­mism among some ana-

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