Retail sales rose in July for a fourth consecutive month, showing the U.S. economy is breaking free of the effects of higher taxes and federal budget cuts.
The 0.2 percent increase followed a 0.6 percent gain in June that was larger than previously reported, according to Commerce Department figures issued today in Washington. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.3 percent advance. The measure of demand that feeds into gross domestic product climbed by the most this year.
Employment gains and rising household wealth tied to higher home values and stock prices are giving Americans the confidence to spend, triggering improving sales at companies such as General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. A pickup in household purchases would help counter the fiscal headwinds of taxes and government cutbacks that have held back the world’s largest economy this year.
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