PROTECTING RETAILERS AND A LIFESTYLE

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Retail Sales Up 1% in January

The Commerce Department has reported that retail sales jumped 1% in January, as post-holiday discounts attracted budget-conscious shoppers. The gain, following a downwardly revised 3% decline in December sales, stumped economists who were expecting another sales decrease. January’s increase was the biggest since November 2007 and followed six consecutive months of declines. Sales grew 1.6% at apparel chains, and climbed 1.1% at general merchandise chains. Sales edged down 0.3% at department stores. Sales at non-store retailers, such as Internet and mail-order shopping, advanced 2.7%. Despite the leap last month, retail sales were down 9.7% from January 2008, an indication of how dramatically the recession has hurt retailers.