Retail Sales to Hold Up Despite Consumer Stress

Look for a lackluster back-to-school season, with shoppers not buying until forced.

We still expect retail sales to increase about 3% this year, despite recent evidence of consumer fatigue -- in June’s dreary retail sales numbers from the Census Bureau and scant hopes for a big rebound in July.

Stronger job growth along with lower gasoline prices will drive up consumer spending in coming months, though the 3% gain will be short of retail sales growth in 2010.

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Jerome Idaszak
Contributing Editor, The Kiplinger Letter
Idaszak, now retired, worked on The Kiplinger Letter as its economics writer for 21 years. Before joining Kiplinger in 1992, he worked for 15 years with the Chicago Sun-Times, including five years as a columnist and economic correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau, covering five international economic summit meetings. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.