Consumer spending gains strong in September. After the pace of retail sales growth slowed in August following the end of CARES Act stimulus, shoppers accelerated activity by 1.9 percent in September. Year over year, core retail sales are up 5.9 percent. A combination of healthy payroll growth, back-to-school spending, and disaster-relief unemployment aid supported the increase. Retailers in every state have been permitted to open their doors, though the capacity restrictions vary across the country. As the health crisis continues into the winter, the economic damage to retailers and the buildings they occupy will be uneven.