Retail and food services sales rise in October

WASHINGTON — October was a pleasant surprise for retail and food services, as the advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for that month — announced Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau — showed increases that rose above expectations. Sales rose to $373.1 billion, up 1.2% from last month and 7.3% higher than October 2009 sales.

Total sales for the August through October 2010 period were up 6.3% from the year-ago period, and the August through October 2010 percent change was revised from 0.6% to 0.7%.

Among the Census Bureau’s advance estimates: Health and personal care store sales, which includes pharmacies and drug stores, rose 3.4% from the year-ago period, and rose from $21,556 in October 2009 to $21,908 in October 2010. However, pharmacy and drug store sales dropped slightly from $18,433 in August 2010 to $18,197 in September 2010. Grocery store sales rose to $433,635 in the 10-month 2010 period, a 2% increase from 2009.