April 22, 2019
The Commerce Department reported retail sales in the U.S. surged last month at the fastest pace in more than two years, driven by a jump in spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing. Sales rose 1.6% to $514.1 billion in March from February’s numbers, marking the strongest increase since September 2017.
The spending category breakdown included a 3.5% increase at gas stations and a 3.1% increase at auto dealers. There was a 2% increase in the clothing category and 1.7% increase at furniture stores.
The only category of 13 tracked that declined in March was sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores. Department store spending was unchanged.
Total sales for the January 2019 through March 2019 period were up 2.9% from the same period a year ago. The January 2019 to February 2019 percent change was unrevised from down 0.2%.
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