November proved a good month for US stores, with new figures showing a higher-than-expected increase in retail sales.

According to the Commerce Department, sales rose 0.9% last month compared with the month before, the biggest rise since August and higher than the 0.7% forecast by economists. On a year-on-year basis, November's retail revenues were up 6.9%.

The surge is being taken as a sign that retailers will enjoy a bumper Christmas. Forecasts from the National Retail Federation point to a 5.7% rise in sales over the holiday period, which would be the highest gain since 1999.

The best-performing sector last month was automotive, where sales jumped 2.6% compared with October -- the biggest increase in eight months. Excluding this category, retail sales were up just 0.4%.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff