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Retail Sales

Retail sales climb in July reflecting jump in auto sales

Consumers shrugged off high gasoline prices last month and went shopping. The Commerce Department reports that total retail sales rose by one-point-eight percent in July, the best showing in three months. But almost all of that strength came from auto sales as incentives got buyers into dealerships. Car sales were up almost seven percent. Without autos, retail sales were up a smaller three-tenths percent in July, thanks to lackluster demand at department stores and a number of other retail establishments. That gain was just half of what economists had been expecting.

Still analysts are forecasting a rebound in overall demand in coming months with consumer spending expected to remain strong, reflecting solid gains in employment.

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