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U.S. retail sales growth slows in Sept.

Several retailers reported modest sales gains for September as shoppers who were worried about a partial government shutdown and the overall economy pulled back their spending from the prior month.

The results, reported Thursday, increase concerns about how shoppers will spend during the crucial holiday season.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year -- a measure of a retailer's health -- rose 2.0 percent in September, according to a tally of 10 retailers by the International Council of Shopping Centers. That was a slower pace than the 3.5 percent increase posted in August.

Costco Wholesale Corp. and L Brands, the parent of Victoria's Secret, were among the chains that reported results that missed Wall Street estimates, while Stein Mart Inc. posted results that beat analysts' expectations. Gap Inc., which operates its namesake chain, Old Navy and Banana Republic, reported sales were flat, stalling a momentum it had enjoyed since early last year.

Only a sliver of retail chains report monthly sales figures. But they offer some clues into consumer spending heading into the holiday shopping season. -- AP


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