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U.S. retail sales rose in February by most in five months

Washington, D.C. -- A report released Tuesday by the Commerce Department said that retail sales in the United States rose 1.1% in February, the most in five months.

The advance matched Bloomberg estimates and followed on the heels of a 0.6% increase in January that was larger than anticipated.

The Commerce Department report showed that demand improved in 11 of 13 industry categories, including auto dealers and clothing stores. Purchases at clothing stores rose 1.8%, the most since November 2010. Furniture and general merchandise stores were the only categories to show a decrease in demand. Sales increased 1.6% at automobile dealers.

Purchases excluding autos increased 0.9%, the report showed, exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed that projected a 0.7% gain.

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