November Retail Sales Improve More Than Expected

Surging purchases at car dealerships and auto stores boosted U.S. retail sales last month.

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On Thursday, the Commerce Department said that November saw a 0.7% gain in retail sales. That topped the 0.6% rise forecast by economists and marked the largest increase since June, Reuters notes.

The government also revised upward October’s retail sales gain from a previous estimate of 0.4% to 0.6%.

Auto-related sales jumped 1.8% last month, which offset a 1.1% decline in gasoline sales. Apparel stores saw sales fell 0.2%, while electronics and appliance retailers reported a 1.1% rise in store sales.

Construction and garden supplies also jumped 1.8%, shaking off a 1.5% decline in the prior month.

Stronger November sales may signal growing consumer confidence in the economy, which posted better-than-expected employment growth last month. Improving consumer confidence would be welcome news for retailers who depend on a healthy holiday shopping season.

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