CNN Money reports:
Retail sales fell in September after a popular program aimed at boosting auto sales ended, but the drop was smaller than economists had expected, government data showed Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said total retail sales fell 1.5% last month, down sharply from an increase of 2.7% in August, when overall sales were boosted by the government's Cash for Clunker's program.
Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a decline of 2.1% in September sales.
Sales excluding autos and auto parts rose 0.5%, compared to a 1.1% increase in August. Economists expected a gain of 0.2% in September sales, excluding auto purchases.Looking at the change in sales from July (which ignores the spike in August), retail sales showed relative strength across the board with the exception of motor vehicles (the Cash for Clunkers program began in late July).