WASHINGTON — Retail sales rose 1.1% to $412.9 billion in September after climbing a revised 1.2% in August, originally reported as a 0.9% advance, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
The September sales figure represents the second consecutive month of much stronger-than-expected results, and surpassed the 0.8% mark projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.
Excluding automobile sales, retail transactions were up 1.1% in September after rising a revised 1% in August. The economists had projected retail sales excluding autos to rise 0.6% for the month.
On a year-over-year unadjusted basis, retail sales were up 5.4% for 2012, compared to September 2011. The sales figure got a boost from electronics and appliance stores, which improved sales 4.5% from the prior month for the largest increase those retailers have seen since a 5.3% jump in October 2011.
Excluding gas sales, retail sales rose 1.0 after climbing 0.6% the previous month.
Excluding both autos and gas, retail sales rose 0.9% in September after climbing 0.3% the previous month. Excluding autos, gas, and building materials, sales rose by 1.1% after a 0.5% increase in August.