11 December 2009 17:49 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US retail and food services sales rose by 1.3% in November, the Commerce Department said on Friday, raising hopes that consumers are gaining confidence in the recovery and are willing to spend.
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The improvement in retail sales last month was almost twice what market analysts had been expecting.
The department said that retail and food services sales were at a seasonally adjusted $352.1bn (€239.4bn) in November, an increase of 1.3% from October and nearly 2% above the retail sales level of November last year.
Much of the gain in November’s retail sales was attributed to a 6% rise in gasoline sales at the pump, but as fuel prices were more or less steady in November, the sales increase suggests that consumers were more willing to travel and shop.
Increased consumer spending also appeared to be reflected in a 2.8% gain in retail sales at electronics and appliances stores and a 1.5% improvement in sales of building materials and garden supplies at the retail level.
Along with modest gains in retail sales at sporting goods, book and music stores and improvements in beverages and restaurant dining, the data suggest that US consumers are increasingly willing to spend on more recreational and leisure items, not just on essentials such as food, clothing and shelter.
Much of the chemicals industry ultimately depends on consumer purchasing, which drives sales of such downstream chemicals-consuming products as autos, appliances, electronics, CDs and other storage media and retail product packaging.
($1 = €0.68)
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