Retail sales rise 0.8 percent in November

Retail sales rose for a fifth straight month in November, as the biggest jump in department store sales in two years gave the holiday shopping season a strong start.

The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.8 percent last month. That came after a 1.7 percent gain in October, which was propelled by a huge increase in auto sales.

Auto sales retreated a bit in November. But excluding autos, sales rose 1.2 percent — the best showing since last March.

Department store sales jumped 2.8 percent, the strongest advance in two years.