General Merchandise Retail Sales Up in October

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U.S. retail sales in the general merchandise and allied categories rose 5.8 percent in October versus the same period last year, but stayed unchanged month to month, according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures released last week.


The sales growth was reported in general merchandise, clothing and accessories, furniture and home furnishings, books and music, sporting goods, electronics and appliances, and hobby stores.


"The stage has been set for the holiday season ... October gains continue to reinforce our holiday forecast," Rosalind Wells, chief economist of the National Retail Federation, Washington, said in a statement.


NRF since Sept. 16 has forecast a 5.7 percent rise in holiday sales in general merchandise for November and December. This is considered the highest increase since 1999.


Warm weather helped boost apparel sales. Equally, sales of furniture and home furnishings were up vastly as were building material and gardening equipment.


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