November retail sales rose moderately

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The Commerce Department reports retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in November, matching expectations, as households bought furniture, electronics and a range of other goods.

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Excluding the volatile auto component, sales rose 0.2 percent, also meeting expectations.

November sales were up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, indicating the holiday-shopping season got off to a better start than in 2017.

October’s retail sales were revise higher to 1.1 percent from 0.7 percent.

Cheaper gasoline undercut sales at service stations. Gasoline prices have dropped about 40 cents per gallon since October, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil prices have fallen by a third since the start of October amid concerns about oversupply and a slowing global economy.