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Strong start: Retail sales boom in January

Consumers are spending big in 2018.

An improving economy kept January retail sales nearly as good as the holiday season’s strong showing. The National Retail Federation announced sales increased 5.4 percent in January compared to last year at the same time.

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The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants sales. Employment has increased, labor markets are tightening and wage growth is on the rise, contributing to strong retail sales, according to Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist.

“These numbers reinforce a positive start to 2018 that reflects ongoing consumer optimism brought about by solid economic fundamentals,” Kleinhenz said.

A lot of the growth was fueled by online sales. Online and other non-store sales were up 13.2 percent year-over-year and were unchanged from December.

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