Retail sales grew 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department announced this week. The increase follows a 1 percent growth in February and beat economists’ expectations for a rise of only 0.3 percent.
"It's a clear sign that U.S. consumer spending remains strong. On balance I think it's the latest sign here that the economy is outpacing a lot of its major counterparts in recovery," Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington, told Reuters.
Among the sectors, sales of motor vehicles rose 0.9 percent; clothing store sales grew 0.9 percent; building materials and garden equipment suppliers increased 3 percent; sales at restaurants and bars edged up 0.3 percent; and sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores were up 0.5 percent. In its largest gain since October, sales of electronics and appliances rose 1 percent.