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Retailers from Macy’s to Costco on Thursday reported monthly revenue at stores open at least a year - an indicator of a merchant’s health - that beat Wall Street estimates. The overall tally for the 21 retailers that reported revenue for November rose 3.2 percent, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

November results offer an important benchmark for retailers and economists. During the holiday shopping season, merchants can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The period that runs from November through December also gives valuable insights into what it takes to get Americans to spend in the weak economy.

The monthly numbers were boosted by the four-day weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day, the traditional kickoff of the shopping season. Americans spent $52.4 billion over the weekend, the highest total ever recorded during that time, according to the National Retail Federation.


Industry: Sales rose 14 percent in November

DETROIT | People are finally replacing the cars and trucks they kept during the economic slump, giving a big boost to U.S. auto sales in November.

Chrysler, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai were among the companies reporting double-digit gains from last November, which is normally a lackluster month because of colder weather and holiday distractions. This November, buyers were lured by good deals, improving confidence in the economy and the need to trade in older cars.

Industry sales rose 14 percent to 994,721, according to Autodata Corp. U.S. sales would hit 13.6 million this year if they stayed at the same pace they did in November. That’s a far better rate than the 12.6 million in the first 10 months of this year.

Chrysler Group LLC’s sales rose 45 percent from a year earlier. At General Motors Co., sales of the Chevrolet Cruze compact rose 64 percent, while the Silverado pickup, GM’s top-selling vehicle, saw sales jump 34 percent.

Ford’s sales rose 13 percent.

Toyota’s sales rose 7 percent for the month, the first time the company has seen a year-over-year increase since April. But Honda Motor Co. sales fell 10 percent for the month.