Holiday Retail Sales Soared, With Biggest Increase Since Recession

Sales increased 5.5 percent over the previous year, though they may been aided by natural disasters that spurred purchases of building supplies.

Shoppers came out in force during the holidays, driven by a strengthening economy, high consumer confidence and rebuilding efforts after a season of natural disasters across the country.Retail sales during November and December increased 5.5 percent, to about $692 billion, from a year earlier, according to data released Friday by the National Retail Federation.It was the largest increase in holiday sales since the recession of 2008, exceeding the federation’s forecast of $682 billion, or grow...