WASHINGTON–U.S. retail sales rose 0.5 percent in October over the prior month and were up 7.2 percent over October 2010, totaling $397.7 billion on an adjusted basis, according to the monthly retail-sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Stores that sell home products did not fare well from September to October. Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores fell 0.7 percent. Sales at general merchandise stores were flat, and sales at department stores (excluding leased departments) were down 1.2 percent. In the year-over-year comparisons, the gains at furniture and home furnishings stores and general merchandise stores were 3.4 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, while sales at department stores were off 0.2 percent.
Noting that U.S. retailers as a whole showed some strength in October, Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of the National Retail Federation, said, “October retail sales support the assertion that consumers have a distinct desire to spend, bolstering hopes for solid sales growth in November and December.”
Earlier this month, NRF estimated that holiday sales, comprising the months of November and December, are expected to rise 2.8 percent this year to $466 billion.