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Retail Sales in U.S. Trail Forecasts on Car Purchases: Economy

Sales at U.S. retailers rose less than forecast in January, reflecting an unexpected drop in purchases of automobiles.

The 0.4 percent gain reported by the Commerce Department today in Washington was half the 0.8 percent rise median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Purchases excluding car dealers climbed 0.7 percent, more than projected and the biggest gain since March.