WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. retail sales rose in July by the largest amount in five months, buoyed by more spending on autos, furniture and clothing.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.8 percent in July from June. The increase followed three months of declines, including a 0.7 percent drop in sales in June.
Retail sales totaled a seasonally adjusted $403.9 billion in July, up 21.4 percent from the recession low hit in March 2009.
All major categories showed increases, a sign that consumers may be gaining confidence after the longest stretch of declines since the fall of 2008.
Auto purchases rose 0.8 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales also increased 0.8 percent.
The Associated Press