The U.S. Commerce Department said today in Washington the sales of U.S. retailors rose 0.8 percent in March from a revised 1.0 percent rise in the month ago, beating economists' median forecast of 0.3 percent increase.

Retail sales less autos increased 0.8 percent from 0.9 percent in March, while retail sales excluding auto and gas was up 0.7 percent from a revised 0.5 percent, each above 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent increase analysts called for, respectively.