Retail sales increased 0.5 percent in October

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Americans spent more on autos, electronics and building supplies in October, pushing retail sales up for a fifth straight month.

The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.5 percent.

Auto sales rose 0.4 percent. Excluding autos, sales rose 0.6 percent, the best showing since March. Sales increased even though department stores and specialty clothing store sales fell in October.

The October report shows that growth in the October-December quarter is off to a good start. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

A rebound in consumer spending was the key reason the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, the best quarterly growth in a year.