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US retail sales rose 0.3 percent in May

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales rose for a fourth straight month in May, adding to evidence that consumer spending will contribute to stronger economic growth.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in May, helped by a surge in demand for autos. The result follows a 0.5 percent climb in April and a 1.5 percent surge in March, which was the biggest one-month gain in four years.

Retail sales had fallen sharply in January as winter storms cut into shopping and various other types of economic activity. Overall economic growth went into reverse in the first quarter, shrinking at an annual rate of 1 percent. But the revival in consumer spending has led economists to predict a solid rebound to 3 percent growth or better in the current April-June quarter.

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