US retail sales growth fuelled by car industry

US retail sales rose more than expected last month – fuelled by the automotive industry.

Total retail sales rose by 0.4 per cent following an upwardly revised 2.1 per cent rise in March, according to the Commerce Department.

Compared to April 2009, sales were 8.8 per cent higher.

The figures represented the seventh consecutive month of sales rises.

James Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Virginia said: "This adds to a string of data we have received indicating that consumer spending is improving."

Motor vehicle and parts purchases unexpectedly rose 0.5 per cent, following a 6.7 per cent increase in March.