US retailers cheer early holiday season sales

US retail prices have risen to their highest level in more than 30 years, as consumers accelerate the pace of spending.

The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that retail sales in October amounted to 638 billion dollars, an increase of 1.7 percent over the previous month.

The report says Americans are earning more in wages and saving more. That is apparently giving them a cushion against the price increases.

The report also says that consumers spent 4 percent more online, 3.9 percent more on gasoline, and 1.1 percent more on groceries.

Retail giant Walmart says over the past three months it has seen sales increase by 4.3 percent, compared to the same period last year. But supply chain problems have driven up the amount of money it has to pay to buy the products it is selling. So, the company's operating profit has only risen by 0.2 percent.

Retailers have been ringing up holiday sales well ahead of schedule. But they fear the supply chain confusion will last longer than expected. They worry that could dent sales in the months ahead.