by Stephen Garner

Mall-ShoppersThe US Department of Commerce reported today that sales at retailers and restaurants were a total of $447.7 billion, a modest increase of 0.1 percent from August, but 2.4 percent above September 2014. Moreover, total sales for July 2015 through September 2015 were up 2.3 percent from the same period a year ago. Retail trade sales, an aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, were virtually unchanged from August 2015, and 1.7 percent above last year.

“Cheaper gasoline prices have given consumers more discretionary income to spend on clothes, restaurant meals and other things that have kept the U.S. economy humming along in September,” said Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies.

This news comes on the heels of The National Retail Federation’s recent report that holiday sales are expected to increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion this year.

But whether the good news will continue remains to be seen. “The buying spree could start to show signs of leveling off after the New Year on expectations that gasoline prices will rebound as a result of a contraction in oil production and increased demand for fuel,” says Wagner. “That, in turn, could trigger sluggish growth in the retail sector.”