US retail sales lifted by car buyers

Image caption,
Car sales boosted the figures

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.

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