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Shoppers Pick Up The Pace

In a hopeful sign for holiday sales, Americans spent briskly on cars and clothing in October, shrugging off the plunging stock market at home and economic turmoil overseas.

Retail sales, which account for roughly a third of the nation's economic activity, rose 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $227 billion last month, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest increase in five months.

Making the Most
Of the Holi-daze
Though the number was supported by a 2.6 percent surge in auto purchases, the largest in 15 months, all broad categories of goods managed at least modest gains and most did better. Excluding autos, sales rose 0.5 percent.

It could be a sign that Christmas sales, which account for half of some stores' annual receipts, might not be as weak as some analysts feared.

Written by Dave Skidmore

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