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November 15, 2011 8:45 AM, EST

Retail Sales Rise 0.5% in October

Bruce Andrew Peters for TT

Retail sales improved 0.5% in October, led by higher electronics sales, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The increase, which followed a 1.1% gain in September, topped economists’ forecasts of a 0.3% increase, Bloomberg reported.

Electronics sales rose 3.7%, the most since November 2009, while demand at non-store retailers including Internet sales rose 1.5%, the most in nine months, Bloomberg said.

Automobile sales rose 0.4%, following a revised 4.2% jump in September that was the biggest in a year and a half.

Overall, nine of 13 major retail categories showed increases, Commerce said.

Almost all trucking operations depend on the health of retail sales because such sales involve nearly every type of cargo.