U.S. Retail Sales Surge on Clothing, Department Store Boost

U.S. retail sales surged higher in September, the Commerce Department said Friday, setting up a record contribution for consumer spending to third quarter GDP.

Retail sales rose 1.9% from last year, the data indicated, and were 1.4% higher once volatile components such as auto, gas and building materials were stripped out, compared to a 0.1% pullback in August, with gains linked to unemployment benefits paid to millions of workers left at home during coronavirus shutdowns and back-to-school clothing sales, which helped boost activity at department stores around the country.

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