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WASHINGTON - Retail sales in October soared by 7.1 percent, resulting in the biggest one-month gain ever recorded, The Associated Press reported.
The jump in sales came after consumers cut back on their spending in September, bringing sales down by 2.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported today.
A record 26.4 increase in car sales was a big factor in October's increase. Excluding car sales, overall retail sales rose by 1 percent.
Commerce Secretary Don Evans told the AP, "It is a sign people are going to malls, shopping and participating in this economy. But we still have a long way to go."
The economy is very weak, underscoring the need for Congress to quickly pass a balanced plan to revive the economy, he said.