April 16, 2012 9:00 AM, EDT

Retail Sales Rise More than Forecast

Bruce Andrew Peters for TT

Retail sales rose 0.8% in March, following upturns in January and February, the Commerce Department said Monday.

The increase followed a 1% gain in February that was slightly below the 1.1% originally reported.

The March gain was almost three times economists’ forecasts, Bloomberg reported.

Demand improved in 11 of 13 categories, including automobile dealers and clothing stores.

Auto dealers’ sales rose 0.9%, Purchases excluding autos rose 0.8%.

Almost all trucking operations depend on the health of retail sales because such sales involve nearly every type of cargo.