November 15, 2016
American consumers ramped up spending heading into the holiday season. Last month, retail sales increased 0.8% after gaining 1% in September, marking the largest two-month increase since spring 2014, according to the Commerce Department.
Those numbers bode well for the upcoming months, and suggest better growth than economists expected. Consumer spending makes up roughly 70% of the economy, and confidence is being driven by steady hiring and solid pay increases.
Big sales increases were experienced in autos and gasoline. Home and garden supplies sales rose 1.1% last month, a sign Americans are remodeling and expanding homes. Healthy increases were reported in grocery stores, health and personal care outlets, sporting goods retailers, clothing stores, and online and catalog retailers.
Sales at traditional department stores continued to lose market share to online and catalogue retailers, which saw sales rise 12.9% in the last year.
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