By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans stepped up spending at retail businesses in May at the best pace in three months, fueled by more car purchases. The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.
The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May from April. That's up from a 0.1 percent gain the previous month.
The April gain was led by a 1.8 percent jump in auto sales, the biggest increase in six months. Sales were also up at hardware and general merchandise stores but down at furniture and appliance stores.
Excluding volatile autos, gas and building supplies, core retail sales rose 0.3 percent, slightly higher than the 0.2 percent April increase.