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Retail sales sluggish

I'm not going to try to spin the retail sales data, since they were definitely weak in June, and below expectations. But this is a volatile series, and auto and gasoline station sales contributed significantly to the reported weakness. I offer this chart to suggest that the growth rate in sales over the past year or so has been greater than it has been over the past 10 years on average. If U.S. consumers borrowed too much and spent too much (and I know many who did), then we could be living through a time of "payback." But sales growth is still positive nonetheless. It is also the case that we are only about 5% below the peak level of sales in late 2007. A set back and an incomplete recovery to date, but certainly not the end of the world.

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