ECONOMISTS PAINT GOOD PICTURE FOR 1998

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- For retailers, the good news and the bad news this year could be one and the same: Real wages have been rising faster in the past year than at any time since 1972. For the good news, that means combined with low inflation and a high-flying stock market, consumers not only feel wealthier, they actually are wealthier. And, economists point out, these consumers are spending -- on

WASHINGTON (FNS) -- For retailers, the good news and the bad news this year could be one and the same: Real wages have been rising faster in the past year than at any time since 1972. For the good news, that means combined with low inflation and a high-flying stock market, consumers not only feel wealthier, they actually are wealthier. And, economists point out, these consumers are spending -- on vacations, new homes, and even apparel. In fact, they're spending on just about everything but ne

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