US retail sales rise for 3rd month but slowdown expected

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their retail purchases by 1.2% in July, with solid gains in appliances and clothing, restoring sales to their level before the viral pandemic erupted in March. Sales at retail stores and restaurants have now risen for three straight months, after enormous plunges in March and April, when the pandemic suddenly shuttered businesses and paralyzed the economy. Still, much of that spending has been fueled by government relief spending that had put more money in people’s pockets but has since expired. With Americans’ overall income likely shrinking, economists expect a potential drop in spending and a weakening of economic growth.