Retail sales without automobiles and gasoline, the so-called "control group", which feeds directly into the government's estimates of gross domestic product each quarter, grew by 0.4% on the month.
With the monthly increase, the Commerce Department said total retail sales in September were up by 4.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago.
There were $483.9 billion in retail and food service sales in September, up 1.6% from the previous month and 4.4% from September 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Building material and garden equipment stores also put in a strong showing, with sales ahead by 2.1% to $32.31bn while gasoline station sales were 5.8% higher at $39.41bn.
Losing categories were electronics stores, down 1.1 percent for the month and 4.4 percent for the year, and department stores, down 0.4 percent for the month and 0.5 percent for the year.
The Commerce Department said retail sales surged up by 1.6 percent in September after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in August.
"The size of the gain in headline retail sales was driven by hurricane effects from replacing destroyed vehicles, purchase of building materials to fix storm damage, and a surge in fuel prices", the analyst firm RDQ Economics said Friday.
Sales at auto dealers were up 3.6 percent, also the biggest jump since March 2015.
Bars and restaurants had a good month, adding 0.8 percent. Sales at nonstore retailers grew 0.5% following August's 0.4% decline.