September retail sales in U.S. reach highest level since June

retail-sales-in-september-increased-by-the-most-in-three-monthsOn the heels of a revised 0.2 percent decline in August, retail sales climbed up 0.6 percent in September, reported Bloomberg.

In a survey of 77 economists, estimates for retail growth varied from 0.2 percent to 1 percent advances. The median prediction however hit the nail on the head, at 0.6 percent. Figures released Friday by the Commerce Department also showed core sales, the number used to measure gross domestic product. These sales fell short of expectations, at 0.1 percent.

Of the 13 major retail categories, 10 showed gains for September including building supply outlets, restaurants, motor vehicle dealers and furniture stores.

Fueled by a surge in auto purchases, total retail sales were up 2.7 percent from this time last year, reported Reuters. After dropping in August, auto sales increased 1.1 percent last month.

There was also a pickup in discretionary spending last month, suggesting solid demand and confirming expectations of a December interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

“The consumer is spending and cost pressures are slowly building,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. “The argument against a rate hike is getting weaker and weaker.”