Advance estimates for retail and food service sales came in at $428.1 billion for the month of October, a larger-than-expected increase of 0.4%, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. September sales also enjoyed an upwardly revised boost from -0.1% to an increase of 0.5%.
Retail trade sales largely mirrored that of total retail and food service sales, both of which were up 3.9% over last year.
Adjusted totals for building material and garden equipment & supplies dealers (NAICS 444) were $25.8 billion, a 1.9% decrease since September. However, the figures maintain an edge over October 2012 by a margin of 4.2%.
Auto and other motor vehicle dealers realized the largest year-over-year improvement at 11.9%, with nonstore retailers close behind at 8.2%.
Many economists expected sales to flatline or decline in October due to the steep drop in consumer confidence caused by the government shutdown. The relatively optimistic report suggests that holiday sales may be higher than expected this year, though Gallup just issued a rather uninspired forecast.