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July Retail Sales Pick Up

WASHINGTON — Retail sales edged up about 1.2% in July, compared with year-ago levels, according to National Retail Federation here.

The figure excludes auto, gas and restaurant sales. Sales were up 0.8% over June level NRF reported, following three months of declining growth.

“Halfway through the back-to-school season retailers are seeing positive signs that consumers are spending,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer.

Read more: Warm June Seen Boosting Retail Sales

July retail sales, released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and foodservice sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.1% adjusted year-over-year.

“Despite high unemployment, and political and fiscal uncertainty, consumers are spending again, albeit cautiously,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Retail sales continue to remain resilient in the face of bleak international news, with retailers on track with sustained sales growth year-over-year and year to date. Retail sales will continue to see modest growth in the fall and winter.”

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