Retail Sales Tick Up 1.0% in February


Sales at U.S. retailers increased broadly in February as rising energy prices boosted receipts at gasoline stations.

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Total retail sales rose 1.0%, the Commerce Department said on Friday, the largest gain since October and the eighth straight monthly advance.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to increase 1.0% last month. Compared to February last, sales were up 8.9%.

Excluding autos, sales rose 0.7% last month after gaining 0.6% in January. That was also in line with economists expectations.

Consumer s last month overcame a 3.7% increase in gasoline prices to spend on a range of goods, including autos, whose sales rose 2.3% after rising 1.2% in January.

Outside autos and gasoline, consumers also spent on clothing, lifting sales 0.8%. Receipts at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores increased 1.3%.

So-called core retail sales -- which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials -- rose 0.6% after a 0.7% gain in January.

Core sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of the governments gross domestic product report.

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