Retail Sales Rise

Consumers might be buying more, but they're not feeling any better about the economy. Retail sales last month grew at the fastest pace in seven months, driven partly by a surge in new car purchases. Benchmark "core-retail sales,"—or retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline and building materials—increased 0.6 percent, twice what was forecast. But even as consumers are spending more, consumer sentiment at the beginning of this month fell to its lowest level in more than 30 years. Analysts say that while the new sales figures are reassuring, they show that the U.S. economy is still struggling.