Retail sales accelerate as supply chain crisis causes earlier start to holiday shopping season

Sales at gasoline stations rose 3.9%

Consumer spending accelerated in October as shoppers kicked off the holiday shopping season earlier than usual due to the supply chain bottlenecks. 

Retail sales, a measure of spending at restaurants, stores and online, rose 1.7% last month, according to the Commerce Department. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting a 1.4% increase. The reading was 16.3% above year-ago levels. 

September’s reading was revised up by 0.1 percentage points to 0.8%.


"October retail sales growth was led by holiday-friendly categories such as nonstore retailers (e-commerce shops such as and electronics stores," said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.

Sales at nonstore retailers surged 4% while sales at electronics and appliance stores climbed 2.8%. 

A 3.9% spike in sales at gasoline stations came as prices at the pump climbed by more than 60% from the previous year to a seven-year high.  

Meanwhile, sales at food services and drinking places were unchanged. 

Retail sales excluding autos rose 1.7% month over month compared with the 1% gain that was expected.