Retail Sales Post Strong September
WASHINGTON (AP) — Retail sales posted a stronger-than-expected gain in September as a big jump in auto sales helped offset weak demand for clothing.
The Commerce Department reported today that retail sales increased 0.6 percent in September, compared to August. That was double the gain that economists had been expecting and was also in contrast to reports on Thursday of sluggish demand from the nation’s leading retail chains.
The government data did show weakness at department stores and speciality clothing shops, where unusually warm weather dampened demand for fall clothing.
The strength in retail sales should ease concerns that the worst slump in housing in 16 years and this summer’s financial market turmoil could push the country into a recession.
What a difference a day makes. Just yesterday I was all sulky about sales being down at Wal-Mart and wondering if the country could survive a third-quarter slump at Big Box.
Not to worry–the Commerce Department rode to the rescue.
Housing has gone to hell, mortgage foreclosures are at an all-time high, the dollar is lower than a snake’s belly and it’s too hot for fall clothing sales, but we’re gonna make it. In less than 24 hrs Carlos M. Gutierrez, George Bush’s hand-picked toady filled in the numbers and squeezed out a six-tenths of one percent gain for September. Did it on a wounded industry–automobile sales. Toyota comes to the rescue.
Add that to Al Gore’s Nobel and happy times are here again.