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Retail report bodes well for holiday sales, analyst says

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Sales at U.S. retailers rose more than expected in October to post their largest gain in seven months, Reuters reported after the release of a government report.

The U.S. Commerce Department said total retail sales increased 1.2 percent, boosted by purchases of motor vehicles and building materials, after advancing 0.7 percent in September. The rise last month was almost double market expectations for a 0.7 percent gain.

The retail sales report offered hope for the holiday season and the broader economy.

“It shows the likelihood is that the holiday period is going to be a good one for retail sales,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management LLC in New York.

It was the fourth monthly increase in retail sales and was the latest in a series of data to suggest the economy was squeezing out of the soft patch hit in the summer.

Motor vehicle and parts purchases increased 5 percent last month, also the largest increase since March, after rising 1.5 percent in September.

Excluding autos, sales rose 0.4 percent last month after a 0.5 percent increase the prior month. Markets had expected sales excluding autos to rise 0.4 percent in October.

Building materials and garden equipment sales rose 1.9 percent last month, the largest gain since April, after increasing 1.3 percent in September.

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