Americans stepped up spending at retail businesses in May at the best pace in three months, fuelled by more car purchases.

The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.

The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.6% in May from April - up from a 0.1% gain the previous month. The April gain was led by a 1.8% jump in car sales, the biggest increase in six months.

Sales were also up at hardware and general merchandise stores but down at furniture and appliance stores.

Excluding volatile cars, petrol and building supplies, core retail sales rose 0.3%, slightly higher than the 0.2% increase in April.