Retail sales rise in December

Marks sixth consecutive month of sales increases

WASHINGTON — Retail sales rose for a sixth consecutive month in December, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sales rose 0.6% from the prior month, the Census Bureau reported Friday. However, the increase pushed sales for all of 2010 up 6.7%, the largest annual increase since 1999. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.5% last month.

Grocery stores experienced a 2.3% upswing from 2009, bringing its 2010 sales to $525.5 million, while health and personal care stores saw a rise of 3.8% from 2009, totaling $264.1 million for the year. And while advance estimates are not available for pharmacies and drug stores, the Census Bureau last reported that November sales rose to about $18.75 million, a slight jump from about $18.7 million in October.

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