Retail sales in September surge most in 2 years

by AP
LATimes.com

Americans increased their spending at retailers last month by the most in two and a half years, driven by strong auto sales as residents of hurricane-ravaged areas replaced destroyed cars.

Retail sales rose 1.6% in September, after slipping 0.1% in August, the Commerce Department said Friday.

Auto sales jumped 3.6%, the most since March 2015. Gas sales climbed 5.8%, the most in four and a half years, reflecting price spikes after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The storms damaged oil refineries and pushed up gas prices 13% last month.

Even excluding the volatile auto and gas categories, sales rose a solid 0.5%, up from a 0.1% gain in August.

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