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Retail sales update

August retail sales came in a bit stronger than expected, but it's hard to look at this chart and find any impressive strength. Sales are up at a 5% annual pace since bottoming at the end of 2008, but they are still about 4% below their peak level of late 2007. This amounts to a relatively modest but ongoing recovery, and that's the same story that is reflected in a variety of economic indicators.

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