WASHINGTON — U.S. September retail sales posted a better-than-expected 1.5% decrease to $344.7 billion, on a seasonally adjusted basis, while excluding automobiles, retail sales rose 0.5% to $288.5 billion, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

The results followed downwardly revised headline figures from August, when overall retail sales increased a revised 2.2% to $349.9 billion and sales excluding autos rose a revised 1.0% to $287.1 billion.

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