US retail sales recovered in October from the downturn the previous month, helped by continuing strong gains in online shopping and auto sales, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Overall retail sales picked up 0.3 percent to $444.5 billion after September's 0.3 percent decline, and were up 4.1 percent from October 2013.
Sales in the August-October period were 4.5 percent above the same three months a year ago.
Sales by non-store retailers -- mainly online sales -- jumped 9.1 percent last month from September, suggesting an early start to the year-end holiday shopping season. Non-store sales over August-October were up 7.9 percent from a year ago.
Auto sales jumped 7.6 percent in October and for the recent quarter were up 8.6 percent year-on-year.
There were also strong gains in restaurant and bar sales, building material sales, and sales in health and personal care stores.
Offsetting those was a sharp fall in gasoline sales, mainly due to the fall in gas prices.
Analysts said the October data erased fears from September of a stall in spending, but also showed that the savings on cheaper gasoline were not yet turning into greater purchases elsewhere.
The new numbers provide "added reassurance that the economy is in better shape than many had hoped a month ago," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.