(CN) – Despite low gas prices offsetting a strong holiday shopping season, U.S. retail sales beat expectations and increased by 0.2 percent last month.
November’s sales figures topped predictions by economists that the value of overall sales would increase by just 0.1 percent, easing fears of a significant economic slowdown.
A Commerce Department report released Friday shows retail sales have grown by 5.3 percent so far this year.
Gas prices have dropped sharply since October, averaging $2.41 per gallon this week. Overall retail sales were hindered by a 2.3 percent drop in gas sales last month.
Not counting gasoline, November retail sales grew by a strong 0.5 percent.
October retail gains were revised upward from 0.8 to 1.1 percent, indicating a stronger fourth-quarter start than initially expected.