US retail sales post solid rise in June

WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales posted a healthy increase in June, another sign that consumer spending picked up in the spring.

The Commerce Department says sales at retailers and restaurants rose 0.6 per cent from May after, after a 0.2 per cent climb in May. Sales were up 2.7 per cent from a year earlier. Excluding volatile spending on cars and auto parts, sales were up 0.7 per cent.

Spending on building materials and gardening supplies surged 3.9 per cent, the most since April 2010.

Consumers got off to a slow start this year, which is one reason the economy grew at a lacklustre 1.1 per cent annual pace from January through March. Economists expect spending to drive faster growth from April through June and the rest of the year.