MERRY AGAIN: Retail Sales Blow Away Expectations

Holiday shopping got off to a booming start in November, signaling sustained strength in the economy.

Retail sales rose 0.8 percent on a monthly basis in November, more than twice the 0.3 percent gain expected by economists, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

Data for October was revised sharply upward to 0.5 percent from the previously reported 0.2 percent rise.

Compared with the prior year, retail sales were up 5.8 percent.

The stronger than expected retail sales number increase the odds that fourth quarter gross domestic product will come in higher than expected.

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