Retail Sales: How to Get Consumers Spending Again

What will it take to get retail sales moving again? After two months of slender gains, advance estimates released by the Commerce Dept. on Aug. 13 showed that July retail and food service sales decreased by 0.1% from the month before—down 8.3% from a year ago. Excluding auto sales, which were up 2.4%, juiced by cash-for-clunkers rebates, retail sales declined 0.6%. The report disappointed economists, who had been expecting a 0.6% gain in July.

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