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U.S. retail sales during November and December grew by a larger-than-anticipated 8.3% over the same period a year ago, the National Retail Federation said Friday, as stimulus checks and vaccine availability helped boost consumer confidence and holiday spending.

Retail sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 totaled USD789.4 billion, above the NRF's forecast for sales to fall somewhere between USD755.3 billion and USD766.7 billion. Those numbers exclude sales from motor vehicle dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

"Some families are still struggling, as are some retail sectors. But the promise of a new round of stimulus checks after a deal was struck before Christmas helped increase consumer confidence," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement.