Retail Sales Down 1.5 Percent in September

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau reported Wednesday that retail sales fell 1.5 percent, primarily reflecting a 10.4 percent decline in motor vehicle sales.

The drop in total sales was smaller than the decrease of 2.1 percent expected by private analysts. Gasoline sales rose 1.1 percent, and sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline increased 0.4 percent.

In the third quarter as a whole, total retail sales rose 6.4 percent at an annual rate, and sales excluding the volatile motor vehicle and gasoline components rose 0.6 percent.