US retail sales soared 1.6% in March

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Retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, as spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing jumped.

The Commerce Department says that sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from February, the strongest increase since September 2017.

The gains mark a sharp rebound from a lacklustre period of sales dating back to December. It’s a sign that the healthy job market has likely made consumers more eager to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth.

Sales at gas stations climbed 3.5% in March, while spending at auto dealers jumped 3.1%. Clothiers reported a 2% gain and furniture stores enjoyed a 1.7% bump.

Excluding autos and gas, retail sales increased by a still solid 0.9%.

During the past year, retail spending has grown 3.6%.

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