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--September Retail Sales Ex. Auto Down 0.1%; Control Group Up 0.5%
By Shikha Dave and Harrison Clarke
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The value of retail sales rose by 0.1% in 
September overall and fell 0.1% excluding motor vehicle sales, below 
expectations for 0.6% and 0.4% gains, respectively, but following 
mixed revisions to sales in August, data released by the Commerce 
Department Monday showed. 
     The data suggests that there was indeterminate impact from 
Hurricane Florence. A greater impact would be expected from Hurricane 
Michael in the October data. 
     Motor vehicle sales posted a 0.8% increase, led by the replacement 
of vehicles in the Southeast, while gasoline station sales fell by 0.8% 
in September after a 1.1% August gain, but outside of both motor 
vehicles and gasoline, retail sales posted a flat reading. 
     Clothing stores sales rose by 0.5% in the month, while 
building materials sales increased 0.1%. Sales of building materials are 
likely to be lifted in the coming months by rebuilding efforts in the 
hurricane-impacted regions.
     Food services and drinking places' sales fell by 1.8% and 
electronics store sales rose by 0.9%. Retail sales excluding autos, 
gasoline, and building materials were flat in September. Further, 
excluding food services as well as the other three measures, retail 
sales were up 0.5% after a flat reading in August, suggesting mixed 
underlying growth. 
     Incorporating the mixed revisions to August sales and the downward 
revisions to July sales, third quarter retail sales were up 5.1% at an 
annual rate from the second quarter average, suggesting upward momentum. 
     Sales excluding motor vehicles were up 6.4% at an annual rate from 
the previous quarter, while sales excluding autos, building materials, 
and gas were up 6.0%. Even when food services were also excluded, 
third quarter sales were up 4.8% at an annual rate from the second 
quarter, pointing to underlying strength outside the volatile 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,MT$$$$,M$U$$$]