Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1% compared with January.
About half the jump reflected higher petrol prices, but even excluding petrol purchases, retail sales rose 0.6%.
The report from the Commerce Department shows that Americans kept spending last month despite higher federal Social Security taxes that took effect this year.
The retail sales report is the government's first look each month at consumer spending, which drives about 70% of economic activity.
Core retail sales, which exclude petrol, cars and building supply store sales, rose 0.4% in February compared with January.