Retail sales rise for third month, but slide feared without new relief
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their retail purchases by 1.2% in July, with solid gains in appliances and clothing, restoring sales to their level before the novel coronavirus pandemic erupted in March.
Sales at retail stores and restaurants have risen for three straight months, after enormous plunges in March and April, when the pandemic suddenly shuttered businesses and paralyzed the economy.
Still, fueling much of that spending was government relief spending that had put more money in people’s pockets but has since expired.
With Americans’ overall income likely shrinking, economists expect a potential drop in spending and a weakening of economic growth.
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