Paced by automotive sales, retail outlets sold $60 billion worth of goods to consumers in October 1.8 per cent above the September level, the Commerce Department said yesterday.

Durable goods stores had a 4 per cent gain in sales last month while nondurable establishments registered a 1 per cent increase, the department said.

Overall, the $60.1 billion in sales during October was 1.8 per cent higher than the $58.3 billion in September than the $58.3 billion in September sales. The October level was 11 per cent above the same month in 1976.

Automotive sales increased 5 per cent last month to $12.2 billion, the department said, the largest jump in the durable goods category.

Building materials, hardware, garden supply and mobile home dealers increased sales by 2 per cent last month as did furniture, home furnishings and equipment stores.

In the nondurable goods sector, apparel and accessory stors had the largest increase, 4 per cent. Department stores had a 3 per cent gain while food stores increased sales by 1 per cent.

Drug stores recorded a 4 per cent decline from the September level, gasoline service stations were down 2 per cent and restaurant sales were off by 1 per cent.