Shoppers snapped up new cars, clothing and electronics gadgets in February, pushing retail sales up for the eighth straight month.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 1 percent last month. Part of the gain reflected higher prices for gasoline.
Still, it was the highest increase in four months and it followed an upward revision to January's data that showed a 0.7-percent increase. That was more than double the original estimate.
Excluding autos, sales in February rose 0.7 percent.
Sales totaled $387.1 billion, up 15.3 percent from the recession low reached in December 2008. The hope is that tax cuts and rising employment will keep consumer spending showing strong gains throughout this year.