U.S. retail sales rise more than expected in March

NEW YORK — The Commerce Department said Monday that retail sales rose a better-than-expected 0.8% in March as job gains and warmer weather encouraged more consumers to shop. The increase was below February's 1% increase but above January's pace.

Excluding both automotive and gasoline sales, retail sales rose 0.7%. Excluding the increase in auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.8% in March.

Advance estimates put the total level of U.S. retail sales at a seasonally adjusted $411.1 billion for March.