FTI Consulting Inc.

October retail sales data are better than expected

The Black Friday shopping rush may be slightly less of a nail-biter for retailers after government data showed better-than-expected sales in October.

Retail sales jumped 0.4% last month, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday, handily exceeding the 0.1% month-over-month increase anticipated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. And the September performance, which caused deep concern when initially reported as a 0.1% decline, was revised up to reflect no change.

In total, October sales reached $428.1 billion, a 3.9% boost from October 2012.

Americans may be feeling wealthier because of stock market gains, cheaper fuel and indications of an improving economy, according to...