© Bloomberg. A shopper wearing a protective mask waits to check out at a Home Depot store in Pleasanton, California, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Home Depot Inc. is expected to release earnings figures on February 23. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) — U.S. retail sales rose in October for a third month as higher prices boosted merchant receipts and household demand remained resilient.
The value of overall retail purchases increased 1.7% last month, the most in seven months, following a upwardly revised 0.8% advance in September, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday. Excluding gas and motor vehicles, sales gained 1.4% in October. The figures aren’t adjusted for price changes.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 1.4% advance in overall retail sales.
The broad-based gain in spending highlights how elevated savings and rising wages have helped Americans sustain a robust pace of merchandise spending. Though total retail sales are well-above pre-pandemic levels, a recent inflation-driven collapse in consumer sentiment risks a future tempering in demand.
U.S. prices are rising at the fastest pace in 30 years as businesses pass on growing labor and input costs to customers, but it’s hard to tell just how much that’s impacting demand since the figures aren’t adjusted for inflation. Inflation-adjusted consumer spending data for October will be released next week.
Results from Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc. and Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD) earlier on Tuesday showed households are broadly maintaining robust demand for merchandise even as higher inflation squeezes purchasing power. Comparable sales at Walmart in the latest quarter exceeded forecasts while home-improvement retailer Home Depot reported stronger-than-expected results.
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