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From Home Furnishing Business

Retail Sales Up Prior to Gov. Shutdown Up

Retail sales in the U.S. outside of auto dealers climbed in September, indicating households were sustaining the economic expansion before the government shutdown shook confidence.

The 0.4 percent gain in purchases excluding vehicles followed a 0.1 percent increase in August and matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Total sales dropped 0.1 percent, restrained by the biggest decrease at auto dealers since October 2012, as purchases early in the month were included in the August data.

Americans snapped up the newest cellular phones and video games last month as low borrowing costs and rising household wealth backed by improving home and stock prices gave them the wherewithal to sustain demand. At the same time, the 16-day partial closing of federal agencies may have upended spending this month as consumers grew increasingly concerned it would hurt the world’s largest economy.

“Consumers continue to hold in despite all the uncertainty going into the shutdown,” said Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities USA LLC in New York, who accurately projected the gain in sales excluding autos. “We ended the quarter on a fairly solid note. Whether this buoyancy can be sustained remains a question after the hit to consumer confidence from the shutdown.”

Another report today showed wholesale prices in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped in September as food costs retreated, an indication inflation remains tame. The 0.1 percent drop in the producer price index followed a 0.3 percent gain the prior month, according to Labor Department data.

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Source: Bloomberg

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