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Financial News Network
May 12, 2011 AT 2:52 PM
Sales at U.S. retailers rose in April, reflecting gains at service stations and grocery stores as fuel and food prices climbed.The 0.5 percent increase was the smallest since July and followed a 0.9 percent March gain that was more than double the previous estimate, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.6 percent rise. Sales excluding automobiles and gasoline increased 0.2 percent.Mounting bills for gasoline and groceries are leaving Americans with less money for other purchases. At the same time, chains like Limited Brands Inc. and Macy's Inc. (M) topped analysts' sales estimates last month, a sign the improving job market will prevent consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, from faltering.Other reports showed the number of workers filing claims for unemployment insurance payments dropped less than forecast last week and wholesale prices climbed more than projected in April.