Retail Sales increased by 1.4% in October to $347.5 billion annualized, better than the expected increase of 0.9%, following a 2.3% decrease the previous month, revised downward from a 1.5% decrease. Over the past year, retail sales volume has reduced by 1.7%. Sales in automobiles increased by 7.4%, allaying concerns that households would curtail expenditure after the effect of government incentives had ended. Retail Sales excluding autos had increased by 0.2% in October following a 0.4% increase in September. Over the past year, retail sales excluding autos have declined by 2.6%.

Business Inventories are expected today at 10:00 AM EST. Business inventories fell by 1.5% in August to $1,311.4 billion, and are down 13.3% from August 2008 levels. The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for August increased by 1% to $989.6 billion, seasonally adjusted, but is down 15.1% over the past year. The inventories/sales ratio is 1.33 at the end of August, compared to 1.30 a year ago.

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