From the WSJ today:
U.S. retail sales surged in March, topping expectations and giving a strong sign consumers are growing more confident the economy is improving. Retail sales leaped by 1.6% last month, the Commerce Department said today. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 1.3% increase. The gain was the biggest in four months. Robust car sales drove the much of the better-than-expected increase in retail sales. Yet excluding the automotive sector, other retailers were strong as well. Clothing stores, for instance, saw sales jump by 2.3%. The report Wednesday was another suggestion that a pent-up demand from the recession is being unleashed within the recovering U.S. economy.
Here is a nice graph from Mark Perry showing the trend:
Another graph from EconompicData shows the strong building material and garden supplies category: