April 13, 2011 12:45 PM, EDT

Retail Sales Rise for Ninth Straight Month

Bruce Andrew Peters for TT

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.