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In this March 12, 2012 photo, a shopper carries bags of merchandise in Freeport, Maine. February retail sales rose 1.1 percent, biggest gain in 5 months, with autos showing strength. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)

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US retail sales rose 1.1 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) Americans stepped up spending on retail goods in February, evidence that a stronger job market is boosting the economy.Consumers bought more autos, clothes and appliances. They also paid higher prices for gas.. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales increased 1.1 percent last month, the biggest gain

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