US retail sales increased by a better-than-expected 0.6% in September, helped by a rise in car sales, government figures have shown.
Sales rose for the third month in a row, the Commerce Department said, with a 1.6% rise in vehicle sales leading the increase.
Excluding car sales, which can be volatile, retail sales rose 0.4%, in line with expectations.
September sales are often marked by back-to-school discounts.
Consumer spending is watched closely because it accounts for 70% of economic activity in the US.
Auto sales had their best showing since March, marking a contrast to the 0.5% dip seen in August.
Other sectors that performed well included electronic and appliance stores, where sales rose 1.5%, hardware stores, up 0.6%, and furniture stores, up 0.5%.
Meanwhile, data from the Labor Department showed US consumer prices edged up by 0.1% in September, which less than most analysts had expected.