October Retail Sales Rose 0.1 Percent

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Retail sales were lackluster in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday, after a summer of slow spending.

Last month, retail sales rose 0.1 percent. And sales in September, which had previously been reported as up 0.1 percent, were revised downward to unchanged.

Signs that consumers are not spending worry retailers, who can make up to 40 percent of their total annual sales during the year-end shopping season. On Wednesday, department store chain Macy’s sounded an early warning by saying it would have to heavily discount merchandise left over after a slow fall.

“We believe the retail industry is going through a tough period,” Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chief executive, said in a conference call.

The National Retail Federation forecasts that sales during November and December will climb 3.7 percent to $630 billion, below the 4.1 percent growth of last year.

October’s overall figure looked slightly better when the volatile motor vehicle and parts sector, which dropped 0.5 percent, was stripped out. By that measure, retail sales climbed 0.2 percent.

Six of 13 sectors reported by the Commerce Department showed declines or were unchanged.

Electronics and appliance stores reported a 0.4 percent drop, while general merchandise stores also fell by 0.4 percent. Gas stations dropped 0.9 percent.