U.S. retail sales rose unexpectedly in October as vehicle sales rebounded from a deep slump. However, non-auto sales rose less than forecast, suggesting consumers remain cautious as unemployment surges amid a "jobless recovery."
Sales at the nation's retail outlets increased 1.4%, the Commerce Department said today (Monday), much better than the 0.9% increase projected by the median estimate of 66 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. But September sales were revised downwards to a 2.3% decrease from the previous estimate of a 1.5% decline.
Aside from automobiles, other sales rose just 0.2%. That increase marked the third month in a row that sales rose, but failed to meet the 0.4% climb economists had predicted.
Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) in New York, who projected sales would increase 1.3%, told Bloomberg the numbers give retailers hope for a brighter holiday season.