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Good news for auto and retail

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Things are looking up in the auto and retail industry, based on December numbers.

General Motors Co. (GM), Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC all reported U.S. sales gains in December. Chrysler sales rose the most at 16 percent, led by a 49 percent increase in Jeep sales.

GM’s sales rose by 7.5 percent and Ford’s sales rose by 3.5 percent.

“This is a market that’s coming back significantly,” said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with research group IHS Automotive, in an interview with Bloomberg. “And with really strong products coming from GM, Ford and Chrysler, there’s a lot of opportunity for change in the marketplace.”

Meanwhile, sales at U.S. retailers last week rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, according to a chain-store sales index released by New York-based International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Sales were up 0.4 percent from the previous week.

The ICSC estimated December sales overall rose 3.5 percent or more from a year ago, and that final holiday sales figures will rise at least 4 percent, the most in four years.

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