U.S. consumer spending appeared to gather momentum in November as households bought furniture, electronics and a range of other goods, which could further allay fears of a significant slowdown in the economy.
The Commerce Department said on Friday retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services surged 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.7 percent increase in October. These so-called core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, were previously reported to have gained 0.3 percent in October. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales rising 0.4 percent last month.
November's increase in core retail sales suggested a brisk pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, increased at a 3.6 percent annualized rate in the July-September quarter.