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Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. holiday sales rose a stronger-than-expected 4 percent to $658.3 billion, helped by an improving economy and attractive deals from retailers, leading retail industry group National Retail Federation said.
The NRF had forecast sales for November and December, excluding autos, gasoline and dining out, to increase 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion.
Online sales rose 12.6 percent to $122.9 billion, exceeding NRF's estimate of 7-10 percent growth. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)