Retail sales leap 1.3% in November

Retail sales increase was more than double expectations, but auto sales had little to contribute: Commerce Department.

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By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail sales jumped 1.3% in November, according to the Commerce Department, well more than the expected increase.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise 0.6% from October, according to a consensus of forecasts compiled by Briefing.com.

The seasonally adjusted November increase represents $352.1 billion worth of monthly sales. This is slightly less than the October increase, when retail sales jumped 1.4% month-to-month.

Automobile sales had little to do with November's gains. Without including autos, retail sales rose 1.2% last month.

A consensus of economists had projected ex-auto sales to rise 0.4% in November, compared to October, when ex-auto sales notched up 0.2%.

The year-to-year increase was more dramatic. November retail sales jumped 1.9%, compared to the same month in 2008.

November sales included Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree that is generally one of the hottest days of the year for retail. But this year's Black Friday disappointed retailers, with sales rising an anemic 0.5%, falling short of Thomson Reuters' forecast of a 2.1% rise.

Also today, at 9:55 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan will release its preliminary consumer sentiment index for November. The November index is expected to rise to 68.8, according to a Briefing.com consensus, from the prior month's index of 67.4. To top of page

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