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PLANO, Texas — Retails sales were up in April, surprising analysts and economy watchers, posting a bump of 0.5% for the month. But that figure didn’t include the sales of automobiles, which fell 0.2%, offsetting the 0.2% increase from March.

Brian Turner, director of advisory services for Southwest Corporate Advisory Services, noted that the “centerpiece of the Federal Open Market Committee’s recovery plan, consumer spending, is not forecast to grow at an annual rate of 0.7% for this quarter, down from a 1.0% pace in the first quarter of 2008 and the smallest gain in almost 17 years.”

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