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US retail sales flat in July as market confidence lags

WASHINGTON--U.S. retail sales were essentially flat in July, providing evidence that consumers have yet to shed their doubts about the economy despite recent job gains.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that seasonally adjusted retail sales were unchanged in July compared with the prior month. Total sales rose a statistically insignificant US$161 million from US$439.6 billion in June.

Spending dipped at auto dealers and department stores last month. The losses were offset by gains at grocery stores, gasoline stations, restaurants, clothiers and building material stores.

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