So says the Wall Street Journal. The "better than expected" tag is a welcome sight:
Retail sales increased by 0.8% last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had projected sales would climb by 0.5% in November.
Sales in October surged 1.7%, revised up from a previously estimated 1.2% increase.
The large gains are welcome because consumer spending is a big engine of the economy. High unemployment has kept the pace of spending modest. To spur the economy, the Federal Reserve last month unveiled a plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury securities. In addition, President Barack Obama has agreed with Republicans in Congress on a tax-cut deal.
Tuesday's retail sales report showed auto and parts sales fell by 0.8% in November, after surging 5.6% during October. But excluding autos, retail sales in November rose 1.2%, topping expectations for a gain of 0.7%.
General merchandise store sales climbed by 1.3%.
Clothing store sales surged 2.7%. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores rose 2.3%.