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According to Bloomberg, sales at U.S. retailers were little changed in July as Americans flocked to auto dealers at the expense of other merchants.
"After three upside surprises, we see some downside risk," Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics Ltd in Valhalla, New York, said in a research note before the report. At the same time, "most important is the improving labor market, including what is probably just the start of a pickup in wage gains."
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from no change to a 0.9 percent gain. June's reading was revised from an initially reported 0.6 percent increase.
Gasoline service station receipts dropped 2.7 percent, while sales weakened at sporting goods and hobby outlets, department stores, clothing merchants and restaurants.
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