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Retail sales grow in September as consumer confidence edges up

Retail sales grow in September as consumer confidence edges up
The Commerce Department released September retail sales data Friday that show an increase in spending ahead of the holiday season. (AFP/Getty)

Shoppers gave the U.S. economy a boost in September, a sign that rising wages are prompting consumers to spend.

Retail sales jumped 0.6% last month to $459.8 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. August sales were revised to a decline of 0.2%, a slight improvement from a previous estimate of a 0.3% drop.

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Consumer confidence has grown as the job market and pay have improved for many Americans. In September, average hourly earnings increased by six cents to $25.79, following a two-cent increase in August, the Labor Department said last week. For the 12 months through Sept. 30, pay has risen 2.6%, well above the inflation rate.

With more money in their pockets, shoppers may spend more during the upcoming holiday season, when retailers can earn 40% of their annual revenue. The National Retail Federation has predicted that November and December sales will grow 3.6% to $655.8 billion compared with the same period in 2015.

"Consumers have seen steady job and income gains throughout the year, resulting in continued confidence and the greater use of credit, which bodes well for more spending throughout the holiday season," Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the retail group, said in a recent statement.

In September, all 13 categories showed strength.

Electronics and appliance stores saw sales jump 3%, while furniture shops reported 2.5% growth. Clothing and accessories retailers enjoyed a 2.2% boost.

Follow Shan on Twitter @ByShanLi

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