Keeping Track ...

retail sales

retail sales edged up 0.2 percent in January, led by a 1.5 percent gain in department store sales, the Commerce Department reports.

And indicators show that sales should remain brisk in the coming months.

With unemployment at a 29-year low of 4.3 percent in January and low interest rates, American investors should continue to spend.

While the modest sales gain was below economists' expectations, it did match their belief that the strong pace of economic growth at the end of 1998 is carrying over into this year.

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