WASHINGTON — Retail sales were up 1.1% in February after rising a revised 0.2% increase in January, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The February gain, the largest since September 2012 when retail sales were up 1.2%, was much higher than the 0.5% median increase projected by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

On a year-over-year unadjusted basis, retail sales were up 4.6%.

Excluding autos, retail sales were up 1.0% in February after rising a revised 0.4% in January.

The February gain was also higher than the median estimate of a 0.5% increase projected by economists.

Excluding autos and gas, retail sales were up 0.4% in February following a revised 0.3% increase the previous month.

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