Retail Sales Rise, but Consumers Spend Cautiously

...consumers spend cautiously and retailers hurt
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2008 9:04 AM CDT
A customer carries her shopping from the Linens 'n Things store at the Woodbridge Crossing shopping center Friday, May 2, 2008, in Woodbridge, N.J.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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(Newser) – Consumers gave some of the nation's retailers a little relief in April, following months of dismal sales, but business was helped along by heavy discounting that could hurt fiscal first-quarter earnings, AP reports. Early sales reports issued yesterday showed that shoppers—who are contending with rising gas prices, sagging home and worries about their jobs—bought the basics at discounters and wholesale clubs.

"Consumers are focusing on value and price points and stretching their dollars," an analyst tells AP. "They are feeling the pinch on multiple fronts." He and other analysts expect only a modest uptick in sales in May and June as consumers spend tax rebate checks that are starting to arrive.