U.S. consumers ramped up spending in November on cars, appliances and furniture and made more purchases online, signaling growing confidence in the economy at the start of the holiday shopping season.
The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose 0.7 percent, the biggest gain in five months. October's figure was also revised higher to 0.6 percent.
Two straight months of healthy sales suggest steady hiring is encouraging Americans to spend more this holiday season, particularly on big-ticket items. That could give a critical boost to the economic growth.