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Store sales post slight increase

By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Store sales rose slightly in March, aided by a surge in furniture and home furnishings, and robust gains in electronics and gasoline sales, the government reported Wednesday.

However, the overall gain was offset by a 1.7% decline in auto purchases in the month.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales rose 0.4% last month.

Economists surveyed by Briefing.com on average had forecast an increase of 0.5% for March, compared to a 1% gain in sales the prior month.

Sales excluding autos and auto parts rose 0.8% in March, slightly better than expected, compared to a 0.7% increase in ex-auto sales in February.

Economists had expected a 0.7% uptick in the measure, according to Briefing.com.

According to the government report, furniture and home furnishing purchases jumped 3.6% in March. Electronics sales increased 2.1% while sales of clothing rose 0.6%.

Gasoline station sales rose 2.6%, boosted by higher gas prices.

Elsewhere, department store sales slipped 0.2% in the month.

Sales at miscellaneous, such as florists, used merchandise stores, pet and pet supply stores fell 2.1% and slipped 0.3% among online-only merchants. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,453.23 -3.12 -0.02%
Nasdaq 5,171.29 16.31 0.32%
S&P 500 2,175.30 5.24 0.24%
Treasuries 1.48 -0.03 -2.25%
Data as of 12:00pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 12.72 0.01 0.12%
Bank of America Corp... 14.62 -0.06 -0.44%
Regions Financial Co... 9.22 0.06 0.66%
Facebook Inc 125.37 0.37 0.30%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 5.32 0.12 2.41%
Data as of 11:45am ET
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