Business spending data shows there could be possible upside surprise in retail sales

Key Points
  • Consumers continued to shop a lot, driving online sales sharply higher, and spending dollars at home remodeling stores, general merchandise retailers and grocery stores.
  • September retail sales are expected to be strong, rising 0.7% and edging above the level consumers spent a year ago, but business-to-business spending data suggests it could be even stronger.
  • Retail spending is one area of the economy that has had a V-shaped rebound after the economic shutdowns in March and April.
A customer wears a protective mask while pushing a cart outside a Home Depot store in Reston, Virginia, on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumers continued to spend money on their homes and shopped online in a big way in September.

Economists expect retail sales rose by 0.7%, another good month, which should show the recovery in retail continues to look like a V-shaped rebound in consumer spending. Excluding autos, sales were expected to rise by 0.4%, according to economists polled by Dow Jones. Retail sales data is reported Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said he's studied business-to-business spending for September, and he now expects a jump of 1.5% for September retail sales, twice the consensus.