Commerce Department: January Sales Up 0.3%

The government's retail sales figures came in surprisingly strong--up 0.3%. Many analysts had been expecting a decline.

US retail sales rose 0.3 percent in January, a government report showed Wednesday, as shopping activity rebounded unexpectedly despite growing economic worries.

The monthly snapshot was better than expected as most economists had expected retail sales to decline 0.3 percent following a 0.4 percent drop in December.

Retail sales are tracked closely by economists to assess consumer spending which is a vital economic driver.

Excluding automobile sales, which can fluctuate strongly, sales were also up 0.3 percent, according to the Commerce Department survey.

The government revised sales, excluding autos, during December to show a decline of 0.3 percent instead of an initial estimate of a 0.4 percent drop.


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