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The Boston Globe

Business

Retail spending rises 1.1%, more than expected

WASHINGTON — Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent, compared with January. About half the jump reflected higher gas prices, but even excluding gas purchases, retail sales rose 0.6 percent.

Wednesday’s Commerce Department report showed consumers kept spending despite higher Social Security taxes that took effect this year. The retail sales report is the government’s first look each month at consumer spending, which drives about 70 percent of economic activity.

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