U.S. retail sales beat expectations

  • U.S. retail sales were up 1.1 percent in February compared to the month before, according to government figures released on Wednesday.

    It marked the biggest rise in five months.

    Half the increase was due to higher petrol prices. Consumers also spent more on a range of other goods ranging from cars and clothing to homeware and furniture.

    The figures beat the expectations of economists’, who thought payroll tax increases, which came into effect in January, would hit spending.

    Consumption makes up more than 70 percent of economic activity in the U.S.

    Many economists now believe the country’s economy will grow at a modest 2 percent this year.

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