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US retail sales rise 0.2% as holiday shopping starts slowly

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales rose at a modest pace in November as the holiday shopping season appeared to have a slow start. The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in November. Healthy car sales lifted the overall figure. Excluding autos, sales ticked up just 0.1%.

Steady job gains, a low unemployment rate and rising wages have lifted consumer confidence and economists expect this year's holiday shopping season to be a healthy one. But with Thanksgiving falling later in November there were fewer shopping days after Black Friday. Parts of the Midwest were also hit last month with snow and cold weather, which may have discouraged some spending.

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