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U.S. Retail Sales Muscle Up 0.9%

Washington D.C., U.S. retail sales increased 0.9% in December, which is stronger than the 0.7% increase expected by Wall Street analysts Friday, according to global news agency Agence France-Press. The Commerce Department report showed that sales were up 1.0% when excluding volatile automobile sales.

December's increase was the largest since July. But November's increase was cut almost in half, to a revised 0.6% from an original estimate of 1.0%.

The rise last month was led by a 3.8% increase in sales at gasoline stations, following a 2.9% increase in the prior month. Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 3.0% in the month after rising a healthy 5.8% in November.

Excluding gasoline sales, retail sales rose a robust 0.6% in December following a 0.4% gain in November. Excluding both gasoline and autos, retail sales rose 0.7% in December. Auto sales rose 0.3% in December after remaining unchanged in the prior month.

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