WASHINGTON – Excluding automobile sales, overall retail sales rose by 1.2% in January, the Commerce Department recently reported.

Consumers spent money on a wide variety of items from clothing to building and garden supplies, according to the report.

A decrease in car sales pushed down sales at the nation's retailers by 0.2% in January.

Consumer confidence rose in January for the second straight month, according to the Conference Board.

Sales in home furnishing stores rose by 0.4% after a 1% rise.