Retail Sales Suggest U.S. Households in Good Spirits

April data point to a healthier second quarter for consumer spending

Retail sales posted a broad-based advance in April as bigger after-tax paychecks helped compensate Americans for rising fuel costs, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday. So-called retail-control group sales -- which are used to calculate gross domestic product and exclude food services, auto dealers, building materials stores and gasoline stations -- improved 0.4 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.5 percent gain in March. That indicates consumer spending was off to a good start this quarter after a weak patch in early 2018.

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