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Retail sales rise for sixth straight month

WASHINGTON — Americans spent more on autos, furniture and clothing at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season, boosting retail sales for a sixth straight month.

Retail sales rose 0.2 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That’s lower than October’s gain, which was revised higher to show a 0.6 percent increase. Still, more spending on retail goods shows the economy continues to grow at a slow but steady pace.

Consumers appeared to make more big purchases in November. They spent more on electronics, appliances and autos. So-called core sales, which exclude autos, gasoline and building materials, rose for the 11th straight month.

Meanwhile, sales fell at grocery stores, building supply stores and restaurants.

“People decided to go to the store and do their shopping rather than to the restaurant,” Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse.