U.S. retail sales rose slightly more than expected in February, pointing to some strength in the economy after harsh weather abruptly slowed activity in recent months.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month as receipts rose in most categories. That followed a revised 0.6 percent drop in January and ended two straight months of declines.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales, which account for about 30 percent of consumer spending, rising 0.2 percent last month after a previously reported 0.4 percent drop in January.
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An unusually cold and snowy winter disrupted economic activity at the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year. Economists had expected only a marginal increase in retail sales in February after snow and ice blanketed densely populated regions during the first half of the month.