Consumer spending trends were unexpectedly strong in September. Retail sales increased 1.9% in September and were up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis. Excluding vehicles and gas, retail sales were up 1.5% in the month, well ahead of expectations for a 0.4% increase. On an adjusted basis, sales picked up in every major category in September on a month-over-month basis, with the exception of electronics & appliances.