Retail focused ETFs are trading around all-time highs as the sector gears up for the make-or-break holiday shopping season.

Retail sales increased in August, the most in half a year, buoyed by auto sales and higher demand. A gain of 0.9% beat expectations of 0.6% by the Commerce Department. Consumer spending has been burdened by high food and fuel costs, which have not been matched by rising payrolls and wages, reports Lorraine Woellert for Bloomberg. [ETF Chart of the Day: Retail Sector]

“You can take some encouragement from this, but it’s probably not as strong as the headline number suggests,” Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities, said. “The price of gas will probably make a dent as it diverts from discretionary spending.”

Market Vectors Retail ETF (NYSEArca: RTH) and SPDR S&P Retail (NYSEArca: XRT) are among the ETFs tracking the sector.

Consumer prices have risen 1.7% over the past year, falling under the 2% target of the Federal Reserve.

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