WASHINGTON: U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace in April, a sign that consumers may be rebounding from weak spending earlier this year and driving stronger economic growth.

Retail sales increased at a 0.3 percent rate in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, down from a 0.8 percent gain in March, which was revised higher from 0.6 percent. The spending gains were spread across most retail categories, with especially big gains at furniture and clothing stores.

Spending has rebounded in the past two months after a weak January and February, a trend that could accelerate growth in the April-June quarter.

“Consumption growth is on track for a big rebound in the second quarter, which should push overall GDP growth up to more than 3 percent,” said Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. That would represent an improvement from the January-March quarter when the economy expanded at a 2.3 percent annual rate.

A strong job market, which is showing early signs of lifting Americans’ incomes, could help drive spending gains in the months ahead. Tax cuts have also left most U.S. households with more money to spend, though that extra cash has been eroded in recent weeks by sharply higher gasoline prices.