In this Nov. 6, 2019, photo, people shop at Books & Books, a locally owned business, in the Coconut Grove neighborhood in Miami. On Friday, Nov. 15, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for October. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

US retail sales rose a modest 0.3% in October

November 15, 2019 - 8:33 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up their shopping last month, spending more online and buying more cars, evidence that consumers can still drive the economy’s growth.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales rose 0.3% in October, rebounding from a 0.3% drop the previous month. Sales increased 3.1% compared with a year ago.

The figures suggest higher tariffs on many consumer products imported from China, imposed in early September, as well as broader trade uncertainty, did not hold Americans back from spending. Consumers remain mostly optimistic and willing to make large purchases, such as autos, even as businesses cut back on investment and exports stall.

Americans continue to migrate to e-commerce. Sales in a category that mostly includes online and catalog shopping jumped 0.9% in October and 14.3% from a year earlier.

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