On April 16, the Commerce Department announced that U.S. retail sales in March had risen 0.8 percent over the previous month—a number that was three times higher than most analysts' predictions, reports said.
Retail sales also increased 6.5 percent from one year earlier.
Clothing and clothing accessory stores in March showed a 0.9 percent gain, and 7.9 percent jump over March 2011.
The National Retail Federation released virtually identical results, estimating that retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 0.8 percent in March and 6.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“While retailers will wait until the end of April to gauge the success of the spring shopping season, it’s evident that consumers are holding their own against rising gas prices and other economic concerns,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement.