Retail sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in September, at the fastest pace in seven months, indicating some improvement in consumer confidence.
This was good news to US policy makers and President Obama’s administration, as they have been facing pressure to spur the employment gains needed to support household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s largest economy.
Retail sales rose 1.1 percent in September from a revised 0.3 percent, and higher than the expected 0.7 percent.
Retails sales excluding auto dealers rose 0.6 percent last month versus 0.5 in the previous month, more than the expected 0.3 percent gain.
Retailers are hoping this is the start to strong profits leading up to the busy holiday shopping season at the end of the year.
Some major stores are expecting a busy season and have stepped up hiring to cope with sales. Macy’s, the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, is increasing hiring of mostly part-time workers by 4 percent for the holiday season to match sales growth in its stores and online. Kohl’s, the fourth-largest U.S. department-store chain, said last week it may hire more than 40,000 holiday workers, a 5 percent increase from 2010.
The US dollar was boosted after the data, and risk currencies trading against the dollar were lifted on improved risk appetite.