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U.S. retail sales rose in February

March 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM

WASHINGTON, March 13 (UPI) -- Retail sales rose 1.1 percent January to February, the U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday.

Sales for the month reached $421.4 billion, which is a 4.6 percent gain over February 2012, the bureau said.

For the three-month period ending in February, sales were up 4.5 percent compared to December through February a year earlier.

The reported sales gain of 0.1 percent in December was revised to 0.2 percent.

The Census Bureau said month-to-month sales growth from non-store sources -- Internet and catalog sales -- continued to outpace brick-and-mortar stores with a month-to-month gain of 1.6 percent in February, compared with a drop of 1.6 percent in furniture stores, a 0.2 percent slip at electronics stores and a 1 percent slip in sales at department stores.

The gains leader in February was gasoline station sales, which jumped 5 percent month-to-month. The second steepest rise was in miscellaneous store retailers, where sales rose 1.9 percent.

On a 12-month basis, sales were up 15.7 percent at non-store retail firms, followed by a 7.8 percent gain in automobile sales and a 6.6 percent gain at miscellaneous retailers.

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