Washington, D.C. -- A report released Monday by the Commerce Department showed that retail sales in the U.S. climbed more than anticipated in September, boosted by unexpected increases in household spending.
Sales advanced 1.1% in September, on the heels on a 1.2% increase in August that was the biggest since Oct. 2010. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.8% rise in September.
Still, there are concerns that escalating energy costs and looming tax changes at the end of the year may prevent consumer spending from strengthening much more.
There is “some resilience on the part of the consumer,” Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg. “We are going to continue to see slow, but steady, growth.”
Twelve of 13 major categories showed gains in September. Retail sales excluding autos increased 1.1%, the most since January, and surpassing projections of a 0.7% gain and led by electronics retailers’ 4.5% jump in sales.
Spending increased 0.6% at clothing stores and 0.3% at general merchandise stores. Retailers benefited from demand for back-to-school items, with September same-store sales topping analysts’ estimates at discount and specialty-apparel chains such as Target and TJX Cos.