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The U.S. Commerce Department released the retail sales data on Tuesday. The U.S. retail sales rose 0.9% in March, missing expectations for a 1.1% increase, after a 0.5% decline in February. It was the largest increase since March 2014.
February's figure was revised up from a 0.6% decrease.
The gain was driven by car purchases. Automobiles sales increased 2.7% in March.
Retail sales excluding automobiles increased 0.4% in March, missing forecasts for a 0.7% rise, after a flat reading in February. February's figure was revised up from a 0.1% decline.
Gasoline station sales decreased 0.6% due to falling oil prices.
Sales at clothing retailers climbed 1.2%. Sales at building material and garden equipment stores jumped 2.1% and sales at restaurants and bars increased 0.7%.
Sales at online stores, at electronics and appliance outlets dropped, whiles ales at sporting goods and hobby shops were up.
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