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Capitol Report: Retail sales, like the economy, still in the slow lane

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Auto dealers are still selling plenty of cars, but sales revenue isn’t growing as fast.

Sales at U.S. retailers, a bellwether for the economy, are expected to be weak again in August. But it’s not because Americans have suddenly turned frugal.

Retail sales have been somewhat soft in 2016 despite rising incomes and steady hiring that’s brought the unemployment rate below 5%. Sales have climbed just 2.3% in the past 12 months, just half as fast compared to two years ago. By contrast, personal incomes have increased 3.3% in same span.

The slowdown is not necessarily bad news.

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