WASHINGTON -- Consumers went on a buying binge in October and pushed up retail sales 1.5%, according to a Commerce Department report released Friday that reinforced expectations the economy is headed for a strong end-of-year performance.

"It's very reminiscent of last year, when we had a strong finish," said Brian Wesbury, chief economist for Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson Inc., in Chicago. "These numbers bode well for retailers this Christmas and the economy going into the end of the year."

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