Discretionary spending categories drag down May retail sales

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Robert Hughes. Valley News/Courtesy photo
Robert Hughes, American Institute of Economic Research Special to Valley News Retail sales and food-services spending fell 1.3% in May following gains in three of the prior four months. The weaker result in May still leaves retail sales at the third highest on record and well above the most recent nine-year trend. From a year ago, retail sales are up 28.1%. Core retail sales, which exclude motor vehicle dealers and gasoline retailers, posted an 0.8% decline for the month, leaving that measure with a 23.8% gain from a year ago. Despite the fall, core retail sales are also at the third highest on record and well above the nine-year trend. Gains and losses for the various categories of retailers continue to be quite erratic. Over the past eight months, two – January and March
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