Retail sales posted a third monthly increase in September as solid gains at auto, furniture and hardware stores helped to offset weakness at clothing and department stores.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.6 percent in September. That followed an even better 0.7 percent August
increase, the biggest advance since March.
Excluding autos, sales rose 0.4 percent in September after a 1
percent August gain.
The string of increases in retail sales since July followed declines in May and June. Those had raised worries that the country could be in danger of toppling back into recession.
Economists caution that while the economy is growing, it will be sub-par as long as households face high unemployment and weak income growth.