US retail sales rose scant 0.2% in November

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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales increased a slight 0.2% in November, as strong sales tied to holiday shopping were offset by lower gasoline prices.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales have climbed a solid 5.3% so far this year. In November, non-store retail sales — a category that includes Internet brands such as Amazon — jumped 2.3%. Furnishers, electronics stores and health stores also enjoyed a solid bump as the holiday shopping season got into full swing.

But some of that sales growth was hampered by gas stations, which saw a 2.3% drop in purchases last month. Higher gas prices in October, along with increased auto-buying, had helped propel broader retail sales gains of 1.1% during that month. Excluding gas, November retail sales rose a healthy 0.5%.

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