U.S. Retail Sales Pick Up, Wholesale Inflation Falls

Demand for electronics and appliances help retail sales beat forecasts.

U.S. retail sales rose at a moderate pace in October, led by electronics and appliances, while inflation at the wholesale level eased, government data showed Tuesday.

Retail sales beat analyst forecasts with a 0.5% jump from September, when sales spiked 1.1%.

And excluding sales of automobiles and gasoline, retail sales rose a strong 0.7% in October.

Sales in electronics and appliance stores jumped 3.7% in October from September, the sharpest rise in two years.

On a year-over-year basis, sales were up a solid 7.2%.

A separate government report on Tuesday indicated easing pressures on retail prices in the wholesale pipeline.

The Labor Department said its producer price index fell 0.3% in October, after a 0.8% increase in September.

Most of the decline was due to a 1.4% drop in energy prices.

Prices for consumer foods edged up 0.1% in October, the fifth consecutive monthly increase, the department said.

The so-called "core" PPI, the index minus foods and energy, was unchanged following 10 straight months of advances.

Wholesale inflation on an annual basis was up 5.9% from October 2010.

Economists point out that inflation is being constrained by weak activity in the world's biggest economy, where consumers, the traditional growth engine, are under pressure amid high unemployment.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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