US retail sales up 0.6 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. shoppers stepped up their spending in September, with sharply higher sales at auto dealers, restaurants and gas stations.

But the government’s retail sales report released Friday also contained some evidence that spending might be slowing.

For much of this year, consumers have spent at a solid pace as income gains have accelerated and the job market has improved. Last month’s overall retail sales gain was a decent seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent.

Much of it, though, was due to higher oil prices.

September’s overall increase in retail sales marked a rebound from August’s sluggish 0.2 percent gain, the Commerce Department said.