U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurants and bars in nearly two years.
But other details of the report from the Commerce Department on Monday were upbeat and suggested that consumer spending ended the third quarter with strong momentum, which should provide a boost to economic growth despite anticipated drags from weak exports and a struggling housing market.
Retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month after a similar gain in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.6 percent in September.
Retail sales in September rose 4.7 percent from a year ago.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales jumped 0.5 percent last month. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.
Data for August was revised down to show core retail sales were unchanged instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent gain. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, is being driven by a robust labor market, with the unemployment rate near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent.
Read more in Reuters.