Today, the Commerce Department’s retail-sales report showed an overall 0.2% decline BUT exhibited a 0.5% increase when auto sales were excluded.The resilience of the consumer seen in today’s report is particularly encouraging given that this number largely represents spending that occurred prior to the receipt of the economic stimulus rebates. While it’s conceivable that some spending may have been pulled forward in anticipation of the rebate checks, survey responses and historical experience suggest these outlays occur only after the checks have been received.
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