Retail sales rose for the ninth straight month in March, increasing 0.4%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The upturn followed a 1.1% increase in February that was higher than the 1% originally reported.
The March reading was slightly below economists’ forecasts of a 0.5% increase, Bloomberg reported.
Sales excluding automobiles and service stations rose 0.6%, higher than forecast. Ten of 13 major categories showed increases.
Filing stations sales jumped 2.3%, boosted by higher fuel prices, while automobile sales slipped 1.7%.
Almost all trucking operations depend on the health of retail sales because such sales involve nearly every type of cargo.