U.S. retail sales posted a healthy increase in June, another sign that consumer spending picked up in the spring.
The Commerce Department says sales at retailers and restaurants rose 0.6 percent from May after, after a 0.2 percent climb in May. Sales were up 2.7 percent from a year earlier. Excluding volatile spending on cars and auto parts, sales were up 0.7 percent.
Spending on building materials and gardening supplies surged 3.9 percent, the most since April 2010.
Consumers got off to a slow start this year, which is one reason the economy grew at a lackluster 1.1 percent annual pace from January through March. Economists expect spending to drive faster growth from April through June and the rest of the year.
Retail sales in June were expected to rise 0.1 percent, after increasing 0.5 percent a month earlier.
The U.S. government also reported the latest reading on the consumer price index, which showed a 0.3 percent increase.