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The Economy

Non-auto retail sales show vigor

October 15, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Retail sales other than automobiles showed surprising strength in September, but economists worry that the rebound in consumer spending will be short-lived as U.S. families contend with rising unemployment and tight credit.

Overall retail sales fell 1.5%, the Commerce Department said. The drop was blamed on the end of the government's "cash for clunkers" program. Not counting autos, sales rose a better-than-expected 0.5%, led by gains at furniture, general merchandise and specialty clothing stores.

Many economists saw that as a sign that Americans are starting to spend again.

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