By and  on November 16, 2009

WASHINGTON — October retail sales inched up as consumers indulged in some discretionary purchases — helping to push stocks in the sector up 1.1 percent — but Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned economic growth would be “moderate” next year as credit conditions and the weak job market restrain the recovery.

Sales at department stores increased 0.3 percent in October from the previous month, but declined 2.9 percent to $15.6 billion in year-to-year comparisons, the Commerce Department said Monday. Specialty store sales increased 0.4 percent compared with September and rose 1.5 percent to $17.65 billion compared with the same period a year earlier.

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