Sales at U.S. retailers rose in March by the largest amount in a year, rebounding after three straight monthly declines. Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9% last month, or by 0.4% excluding the auto sector, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Retail sales account for about one-third of consumer spending, the main engine of U.S. economic activity. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast retail sales to rise by 1.1% overall and by 0.7% minus autos. Auto sales jumped 2.7% in March, also the highest in a year. Sales were mixed, with strength from stores that sell furniture, and building materials and garden equipment and weakness from gas stations, grocery stores, electronic stores and internet retailers. February sales were revised up slightly to a 0.5% fall from a previously reported 0.6% decline. In the past year, retail sales have risen 1.3%.
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