Retail and food services sales for October were an estimated $411.6 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent from September, but up 3.8% from October 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. Click here to open a PDF of the data. The month-to-month number is within the margin of error.

The Census Bureau said it was not able to isolate the effects of Superstorm Sandy on sales since it measures the national picture. The bureau said, however, that it had received indications of both positive and negative effects on sales from the hurricane that walloped the East Coast. Some companies had to close or scale back because of the storm while some reported increased sales of storm-related supplies and new customers as evacuees purchased items in new areas.

Although October retail and food services sales did decrease in October, they still came in 3.8% higher (with a 0.7% margin of error) than October 2011, showing an incremental growth in the economy. According to a Bloomberg report, economists were expecting a 0.2% downtick in October from September.