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U.S. retail sales inched up in October, Commerce Dept. says

A marquee on a movie theater in the Kew Gardens section of New York City on October 6 reflects its closure due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A marquee on a movie theater in the Kew Gardens section of New York City on October 6 reflects its closure due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Retail sales in the United States during October grew by 0.3%, government figures showed Tuesday -- short of what most experts anticipated.

The Commerce Department said in its monthly report there were $553.3 billion in sales for the month.

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The figure is up 5.7% from October 2019, but shy of the 0.5% most analysts expected.

Tuesday's report also revised sales growth for September. A month ago, the department said retail sales grew in September by almost 2%, but it now says the gain was 1.6%.

"Retail trade sales were ... 8.5% above last year," the report states. "Non-store retailers were up 29.1% from October 2019, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 19.5% from last year."

COVID-19 restrictions and sagging consumer confidence are behind the sluggish growth, the report said.

October is the first month of the fourth quarter. The Commerce Department said last month the U.S. economy grew by 33% in the third quarter, but a rise in coronavirus cases nationwide and new restrictions in some states are expected to slow growth even more for the rest of the year.

New Jersey, New York and Ohio have already implemented new restrictions and California and Washington introduced stricter measures on Tuesday.

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