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Retail sales figures point to subdued holidays

from The Associated Press via Google News

Improved retail sales gave Wall Street a boost this week but provided little hope for a robust holiday shopping season that might invigorate the economic recovery. The October figures, driven by a surge in auto sales, exceeded economists' expectations. Yet consumers are so squeezed by tight credit and rising unemployment that economists don't expect to see significant spending until well after year's end. Even optimists predict scant improvement over last year's holiday season. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of total economic activity, so wary shoppers are a worrisome sign for retailers entering the crucial holiday season. more

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