People did not spend as much as they did a year ago on electronics and clothing but they they flocked to buy video games, spending $1.31 billion in U.S. retail stores on hardware, software and accessories.
The games industry is optimistic about the coming weeks even amid bad news from electronics retailers, with Circuit City filing for bankruptcy and Best Buy Co. slashing its guidance and calling the current retail climate the worst it's ever seen.
Hardware sales climbed 5 percent to $494.7 million, led by the Nintendo Wii, which far outsold every other game machine. Cammie Dunaway, an executive vice president at Nintendo, said it was the biggest October ever for the Wii, which sold 803,000 units during the month.
Video games, Dunaway said, continue to be attractive to consumers in part because of their relatively low price compared with other forms of entertainment.
Microsoft's epic role-playing game "Fable II" was the month's best-selling title with 790,000 units sold, followed by Nintendo's "Wii Fit" exercise game with 487,000 copies. Other games in the top 10 included Sony's "Little Big Planet," Nintendo's "Wii Play" and "Mario Kart" for the Wii, as well as "Fallout 3" from Bethesda Softworks and "Rock Band 2" from Electronic Arts Inc. and MTV.