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April retail sales edge up on gains in autos, clothing

WASHINGTON Americans increased their spending in April at retail businesses, buying more cars and clothes after cutting purchases in March. The Commerce Department says retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in April. That's an improvement from the 0.5 percent decline in March, the largest in nine months.

April sales were stronger when factoring out a drop in gas prices. Excluding gas station sales, retail spending rose 0.7 percent. And core retail sales, which strip out the volatile categories of gas, autos and building supplies, increased 0.5 percent.

The gain suggests consumers are still increasing their spending despite paying higher taxes this year. That could help boost economic growth.