Jun 13, 2007
U.S. Retail Sales Probably Rose in May on Gasoline PurchasesBy Joe RichterBloomberg.com

June 13 (Bloomberg) — Retail sales in the U.S. probably rose in May as record gasoline prices lifted purchases at service stations, economists said ahead of a report today.

Sales rose 0.6 percent after a 0.2 percent decline in April, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 76 economists. Excluding automobiles, purchases probably increased 0.7 percent last month after no change.

Most retailers other than filling stations probably suffered as the high gasoline prices left Americans with little extra cash to spend at the mall. A pickup in business investment and manufacturing will sustain the economy until consumers recover, economists said.

“The most important drivers for consumer spending — jobs, wage growth and wealth gains — are still in place, but in the near term we have the adverse effects of energy prices,” Richard DeKaser, chief economist at National City Corp. in Cleveland, said before the report. “Consumers will continue to support the expansion, but not as a leading sector.”

The Commerce Department’s retail sales report is due at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. Economists’ forecasts ranged from gains of 0.3 percent to 1 percent. Retail sales account for almost half of all consumer spending.

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