U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurants and bars in nearly two years.

But other details of the report from the Commerce Department on Monday were upbeat and suggested that consumer spending ended the third quarter with strong momentum, which should provide a boost to economic growth despite anticipated drags from weak exports and a struggling housing market.

“The net result still appears to be a fairly strong quarter for consumer spending growth,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, New York.

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