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Retailers warmed up in March as the winter chill faded, and it wasn’t just car dealers who benefited.
Sales jumped a greater-than-forecast 1.1 percent, the biggest gain since September 2012, following a 0.7 percent advance in February that was more than twice as large as previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed Monday. Ten of 13 categories showed a pickup.
More seasonable temperatures brought out shoppers who had holed up at the start of the year. While the surge in sales came too late to boost economic growth in the first quarter, it will probably propel a marked rebound from April through June.
‘‘It really is a story of pent-up demand,’’ said Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial.