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December Retail Sales Top Forecast

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Retail sales climbed 0.5 percent in December from November to $415.7 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.  That beat the median of forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg News, who expected a 0.2 percent rise for the key shopping month.

December’s increase is slightly better than the 0.4 percent increase in November.

Car sales, including auto parts, led the rise in retail sales with a 1.6 percent increase.

Retailers had previously reported a strong holiday shopping season, driven by last-minute shoppers.  The holiday shopping season is especially important for the retail industry, with some stores making as much as 40 percent of sales in that period.

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