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march retail sales are a head fake; its an easy comparison to show the "record" rise...and that's "same stores" not including those that have closed...

and here's where consumers are getting the money to spend:

Consumer Spending Has Held Up Because People Aren’t Paying Their Mortgages – I’ve been somewhat perplexed by how well consumer spending has held up, at least on a relative basis, given that 1) “underemployment” is above 20 percent and the number of long-term employed is at a record; 2) income has not kept pace with consumption; and, 3) the housing industry is nowhere near a recovery (and the foreclosures just keep on coming). No doubt the government has played an important role in underpinning demand, especially through its emergency unemployment benefits programs and certain other stimulus efforts. But that didn’t seem to explain matters fully. Then I read the following post, “How Obama’s ‘Extend & Pretend’ Mortgage Policy Explains The Apparent Disconnect Between Housing And The Consumer,” (citing the excellent HousingWire blog) and, suddenly, it all made sense. The reason why no small number of Americans can afford to keep on spending is because they’ve got one less (big) bill to pay…


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