Retail sales barely rose in December, but the gain was enough to push sales to a record level for 2011. It was the largest annual increase in more than a decade.
The Commerce Department said Thursday sales edged up 0.1 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion. It was the second straight month that sales have topped $400 billion. Never before had monthly sales reached that level.
The government revised the November performance to show a stronger 0.4 percent gain, double the original estimate. That pushed sales in November to $400.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis.
For all of 2011, sales totaled a record $4.7 trillion, a gain of nearly 8 percent over 2010. It was the largest percentage increase since 1999.