RELIEF AT THE PUMP: Americans are seeing some relief from higher gas prices. Consumer prices were flat in April, largely because of lower gas costs.
RETAIL SALES TICK UP: Cheaper gas may be combining with job growth to power more spending on big purchases. Sales of autos, furniture and electronics all rose in April. Consumers also spent more at restaurants and bars.
MODEST GAINS: Overall, retail sales increased just 0.1 percent last month. Cheaper gas partly offset some of the gains. And a mild winter accelerated sales of building materials and gardening supplies in February and March, making those categories weaker in April.
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