Retail Sales Jump 5.3% in January vs. 1.2% Expected

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Con­sumers flocked to spend their stim­u­lus checks in Jan­u­ary, send­ing retail sales for the month up 5.3% in a block­buster start to 2021, accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment report Wednesday.Economists sur­veyed by Dow Jones were expect­ing a rise of just 1.2%.Excluding autos, sales rose 5.9%, also far ahead of the 1% esti­mate in a dis­play of unex­pect­ed strength from the consumer.A month after Con­gress approved a $900 bil­lion addi­tion­al stim­u­lus pack­age on top of the $2.2 tril­lion approved ear­li­er in 2020, shop­pers were armed with $600 checks they used to buy a vari­ety of goods.The jump in con­sumer spend­ing came at a time when expec­ta­tions for …

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