August ushers in better-than-expected retail sales

Retailers reported a surprisingly strong end to the summer with sales increases that beat analysts' expectations. Consumers were spurred by tax-free shopping days and back-to-school sales, as well as heat waves that led shoppers to snap up the last of the discounted summer styles. Merchants reported an average same-store sales increase of 3.3%, according to Thomson Reuters. Chains across the board, including Macy's, Kohl's, Victoria's Secret and Costco, were among the merchants that ended the summer on a higher-than-expected note.

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