Consumers Turn Out to Be U.S. Growth Lifeline After All

American consumers last month shook off the winter blahs in impressive fashion. Retail sales climbed in April by the most in 13 months, abruptly ending an early-year letdown in spending that caused a first-quarter downshift in the economy, Commerce Department data showed Friday. The gain was broad-based, with purchases picking up at auto dealers, apparel stores, furniture outlets and online merchants.

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