WASHINGTON — Specialty chains and discounters posted gains in retail sales in January, while sales at department stores registered declines, the U.S. Commerce Department’s monthly report revealed on Friday.

Apparel and accessories stores posted a seasonally adjusted increase of 0.2 percent in sales to $21.2 billion last month, while sales at general merchandise stores, a category that includes discounters and department stores. rose 0.8 percent to $56.5 billion. Department store sales fell 0.8 percent to $13.5 billion last month.

In the overall economy, January retail sales rose 0.2 percent to $449.9 billion from the previous month, in line with economists’ expectations.

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