US retail sales lower than expected


BLOOMBERG: Expectations for the economy were tempered by underwhelming December numbers for purchases.

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BLOOMBERG: Expectations for the economy were tempered by underwhelming December numbers for purchases.

While disappointing, the drop followed large-enough gains at the start of the quarter that signaled consumer spending accelerated from the previous three months as the job market strengthened and gasoline prices plunged. Continued improvement in hiring that sparks more wage growth will be needed to ensure customers at retailers such as Family Dollar Stores Inc. also thrive.

“Maybe the optimism a month ago got a little too heated,” said Guy Berger, U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, who is among the best forecasters of retail sales over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s a weak number but it follows some really strong ones and I don’t think it changes my general feeling on how the economy and consumers are doing.”

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