U.S. Retail Sales Increase 0.8% In March
Retail spending in the U.S. rose sharply for the third straight month, up 0.8% in March, as consumers continued to splurge on a wide range of goods and services, the government reported Monday. Sales rose fastest for building materials, autos, home furnishings, electronics and appliances and clothing, the Commerce Department said. Sales excluding the auto sector also rose 0.8% last month. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected retail sales to rise by 0.4% overall, or by 0.6% excluding the auto sector. In February, retail sales were revised down to 1.0% from 1.1%. Sales in January were revised up to 0.7% from 0.6%. Purchases by consumers account for as much as 70% of U.S. growth, so the big increase in spending over the past few months is likely to result in stronger first-quarter growth than economists had been forecasting. Sales in March were 6.5% higher compared to the same month in 2011.
Copyright © 2012 MarketWatch, Inc.
Read Full Story