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October Retail Sales Point to Strong Holiday Season

Census BureauWASHINGTON-U.S. retail sales in October, whose figures were issued this morning by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, provided an indication that this holiday shopping season could be a strong one, according to the National Retail Federation.

The Census Bureau said total retail sales finished last month at an adjusted total of $444.5 billion, up 0.3 percent from September's total and 4.1 percent ahead of October of last year. An NRF statement said this report helps strengthen its projection of 4.1 percent for holiday sales growth in 2014.

Looking at the channels that handle home products, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores grew 0.2 percent month to month and 1.4 percent year over year. At general merchandise stores, sales were flat versus September and 2 percent better than last year's October. Department stores (excluding leased departments) saw sales decline 0.3 percent from September and 3.5 percent from October 2013.

Jack Kleinhenz, NRF's chief economist, said, "Consumers regained the energy to spend again in October, removing some of the concerns surrounding the slower consumer spending results seen as of late. We expect that the next two months will bring forth confident holiday shoppers who have the ability and desire to spend on gifts and more."