Retail Sales Post 8.9% Gain For Quarter

Retail sales across the U.S. for the first quarter of 2006 ran 8.3% ahead of the first quarter of 2005, another indication that slow growth in the final quarter of 2005 was an economic fluke.

The U.S. Commerce Department published figures for both March 2006 and the first quarter on April 13.

After a disappointing drop in February, retail sales rose six-tenths of a percentage point during March and totaled $361 billion.

Retail sales are a closely watched economic indicator since consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity.

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