October retail sales rose .3% higher than the .2% expected, and after removing autos, which are high priced and volatile on a month-to-month basis, it was up .2%; a bit less than expected. However, the positive numbers were much better than the month before, where retail sales shrank.
Many retailers posted soft results before the holiday season gets underway. Sales year-over-year are down from 4.1% to 3.1%. Many experts expect a strong retail sales holiday season but there are lingering doubts of just how strong it will be. This year the time for shoppers between Black Friday and Christmas is shorter and that could play a part.
The consumer looks to be settling in to a sustainable pace of spending and that supports a slow growing economy.