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Al's column

NOT BAD: Retail sales continued their slow but steady climb back up in April, totaling $366.4 billion on an adjusted basis or 0.4% ahead of March, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-over-year comparisons show total April retail sales rose 8.8% over April 2009. Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores, which includes flooring, gained 4.6% in April over that month last year. Looking at the total, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said April’s sales performance showed “evidence of a much more confident consumer compared to this time last year.” Rosalind Wells, NRF’s chief economist, said April sales benefited from spring shopping patterns and seasonal weather. “Spending on discretionary items had fallen by the wayside these last few years,” said Wells, “and we are encouraged to see consumers dipping into that pot once.” Continue reading Al's column