Sales For Retail and Food Services Rise

The Department of Commerce’s encouraging report on sales for retail and food services triggered a rise in the U.S. stock market, with the Dow gaining 95.38 points to close at 13,424.23.  Sales for September topped off at $412.9 billion, up 1.1% from August, and up 5.4% from a year ago.  For the first time, sales have remained above $400 billion each month of the year, and four years of increases has erased the $40 billion decline following the recession. The retail and food services report covers a wide variety of American businesses, such as auto dealers, grocery stores, department stores, and therefore is an important barometer for judging the health of the economy.  Car and auto parts dealers, which contribute $75 billion to the overall figure, have seen sales rise 8.7% since last year, and gas station sales have increased 3.9% from the previous year, indicating that Americans are steadily returning to the pump.  After plummeting over 41% after the recession, gas station sales have recovered to 2008 levels of $47 billion.   
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