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BRIEFLY

Retail sales were slightly higher during April.

May 14, 1987

The Commerce Department said sales were up only 0.1%, to $125.38 billion, with much of the increase reflecting higher prices rather than more buying. The only significant increases were in food and gasoline, where price hikes were a factor. Auto sales were down 0.9% from March levels, while sales of furniture and home furnishings were down 1.4%. Economists said the report showed significant weakness in consumer spending. They attributed the change to a number of factors--falling real income, a record high level of consumer debt, increases in interest rates for consumer borrowing and uncertainties about the future of the economy.

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