U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, pointing to sustained strength in the economy.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month. Data for October was revised to show sales gaining 0.5 percent instead of the previously reported 0.2 percent rise.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing 0.3 percent in November.

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