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Retail sales' mixed bag and what it means for the economic recovery

Retail sales fell by a lot more than experts expected in July. However, the shopping trends underlying the data don’t paint a picture of nervous consumers pulling back amid renewed COVID concerns.

Why it matters: The recent spike in COVID cases amid the spread of the Delta variant has taken a toll on consumer sentiment. Should that drop in sentiment translate into a significant downturn in actual spending, the U.S. economic recovery could be thrown off track.

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