September sales herald US retail recovery

The winds of recovery have been felt in the US high street as retailers reported stronger-than-expected sales for September.

Many retailers credited the early arrival of autumn on the East Coast for the increase, specifically in clothing.

Federated Department Store president and CEO Terry J Lundgren said: 'It remains to be seen whether this sales trend is permanent, or if it reflects sales taken from October and the fourth quarter.'

Federated, which operates Macy's and Bloomingdales, posted growth of 3.2 per cent for September. Saks also delivered comparable growth of 4 per cent, and Gap saw a rise in sales of 13 per cent.

Wal-Mart announced a comparable monthly incr-ease of 6 per cent, beating its forecast.

Many Wall Street analysts have upgraded their forecasts for third-quarter growth, based on better September results.

Economists believe the growth will last longer than one month, with a decrease in jobless claims, a rise in recent earnings results and third-quarter real gross domestic product forecasts being revised upwards.

The National Retail Federation has raised its forecast for US sales this year from a 3.5 per cent increase, predicted in July, to 4.1 per cent.