WASHINGTON — Retail sales grew 0.1% in December after rising a revised 0.4% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The gain was lower than the 0.3% median increase projected by economists.

On a year-over-year unadjusted basis, retail sales increased 7.7% in 2011, compared to 6.45% in 2010.

Excluding autos, retail sales were down 0.2% in December after rising a revised 0.3% in November. The December drop was the lowest since May 2010 when they decreased 1.0%.

Economists had projected a 0.3% gain for retail sales excluding autos.

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