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According to an Associated Press story, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that January 2009 retail sales rose 1% from December 2008, after having fallen for six straight months. Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected January sales to show a drop of 0.8%.
The January report shows strong increases by general merchandise stores—Wal-Mart, for example—while sales by department stores posted a decline. Health and personal care stores registered flat sales.
Despite the gain, retail sales were down 9.7% from January 2008.