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Retail sales rise again despite severe weather

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Shoppers pushed retail sales up for a seventh straight month in January, but the increase was the weakest since June.

Retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month to $318.6 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Demand rose at department stores, electronic stores and auto dealerships.

Sales are up more than 14 percent from the recession low hit in December 2008. And they rose in a month in which severe winter weather limited economic activity in many parts of the country.

Still, economists were expecting a bigger gain. January was the first month that Americans had more money in their paychecks because of a Social Security tax cut.

Auto sales rose in January 0.5 percent after having increased 1.5 percent in December. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.3 percent in January, matching the December increase.

For January, sales at department stores rose 0.5 percent. A broader general merchandise category, which includes big retail chains such as Wal-Mart, increased 0.8 percent.

Part of the overall retail sales gain reflected higher gasoline prices. Sales at gasoline service stations climbed 1.4 percent. Excluding the rise at service stations, retail sales would have risen 0.2 percent last month.

Sales were weaker at specialty clothing stores, furniture stores and hardware stores but posted gains at health care stores and food stores. The rise at grocery stores probably was also affected by rising food prices.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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