NEW YORK — Americans spent briskly in October before Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast on the tail end of the month. But are they willing to buy an iPhone for Christmas if they plunked down hundreds on a generator for Sandy?
Twenty-one retailers, from club operator Costco to the department store Macy’s, reported that sales in October through last Saturday were up 5 percent, compared with the year-earlier period, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That beat the trade group’s estimated growth of 3.5 to 4.5 percent. The storm hit the East Coast Monday, two days after the period for reporting sales.