September retail sales rise 2.2%: NRF

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September sales gains, while modest, were better than expected as retailers head into the busy holiday season, according to a new study by the National Retail Federation.

According to the report, retail industry sales for September, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, rose 2.2% unadjusted over last year and 0.2% seasonally adjusted from August.

September retail sales released today by the US Commerce Department show total retail sales, which include autos, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted from last month and 2.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

Electronics sales for products including cell phones and MP3 players helped boost electronics and appliance stores sales 0.9% seasonally adjusted from August and 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year. Health and personal care stores also showed strength with seasonally adjusted sales from September increasing 1.0% and 4.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

Despite the healthy sales, unusually warm weather didn't help clothing retailers whose sales went up 0.3% unadjusted year-over-year and decreased 0.4% seasonally adjusted from August.

Continuing with the trend in the slow housing market, sales in home furnishings stores dropped 0.6% seasonally adjusted from August and 3.6% unadjusted over last year. Building materials stores sales increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 2.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

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