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After a surprisingly strong September report, October retail sales came in a bit below expectations (-0.3% vs. -0.2%) and September sales were revised down slightly. The net result is that sales are still in an uptrend and consistent with an economy that continues to expand, albeit relatively slowly.

The top chart shows the level of nominal retail sales, which have risen at a 6.2% annualized pace since their March 2009 low. The bottom chart shows the inflation-adjusted level of sales, which have yet to break into new high territory.

Source: Retail Sales Update