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Census Bureau: Retail sales rise for 10th straight month


WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales rose for the 10th consecutive month in April, increasing 0.5% to $389.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Thursday.

The government agency also disclosed retail sales experienced a 7.6% jump above the year-ago period. Across retail sectors, grocery stores during April rose 1.5% to nearly $45.9 million, up from $45.3 million in March, while health and personal care stores, which have experienced positive numbers over the past several months, saw a surprise drop of 0.3% to nearly $22.7 million for the month.

Although advanced estimates for pharmacies and drug stores are not included in the report, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a surge in sales to about $19.9 million in March, up from nearly $18 million in February.

Commenting on the positive sales results, the National Retail Federation said that retailers are on the front lines of economic recovery, although increases in retail and gas prices are looming.

“Positive economic indicators, such as increases in job openings and wage growth, are certainly helping boost consumers’ confidence and support spending,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While there are reasons to be optimistic, plenty of other concerns exist which could very easily shift consumers’ spending habits, including decreasing home prices, high unemployment levels and rising costs at the pump.”

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