Business

US retail sales show the strongest gain in months

Car showroom in the US
Image caption Car sales boosted the figures, official figures show

Sales at US retailers have risen by a better-than-expected 1.2% in October, government figures show.

Retail sales rose at their fastest rate since March, the Commerce Department said, with a 5% surge in vehicle sales leading the increase.

Sales of building equipment and garden equipment were also strongly higher, up by 1.9% during the month.

The overall rise in October's figures left US retail sales 7.3% up on a year ago.

Excluding car sales, gasoline and building materials, core retail sales rose 0.2%, after a rise of 0.4% in September.

The positive figures for the US's retail sector implies that the country's economy is recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Consumer spending is watched closely because it accounts for 70% of economic activity in the US.

Vehicle sales had their best showing since March, marking a contrast to the 0.5% dip seen in August.

Other sectors that performed well included clothing and clothing accessories where sales grew by 0.7%, whilst sporting goods, hobby and book store sales rose 1%.

Purchases at electronic retailers, however, did not do so well with sales falling by 0.7% in October.

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