Business

Consumers’ big purchases lift hopes for US economy

Black Friday shoppers took a break at a mall in Las Vegas. Overall spending rose in November, but online retailers and purveyors of big-ticket items reaped most of that.
Black Friday shoppers took a break at a mall in Las Vegas. Overall spending rose in November, but online retailers and purveyors of big-ticket items reaped most of that.Credit: John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal via Associated Press

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Americans ramped up spending at retail businesses in November, providing a boost to the economy just in time for the holidays.

But traditional retail stores didn’t benefit as much from the latest burst of spending. Consumers bought more cars, electronics, furniture and other big-ticket items. They also did more shopping online. Those trends reflect changes in consumers’ shopping habits and in the broader economy.

Total retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the biggest gain in five months. And spending at retail businesses rose 0.6 percent in October, higher than previously estimated.

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