State of US Retail in 2012:

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“BRIGHT” does not only describe the popular coloured jeans currently available in stores, but also perhaps the outlook for retail sales in America, which rose by 0.8% in July. Although a relatively small rise, it was higher than the consensus forecast, and the first increase since March. According to the Commerce Department, all 13 major retail categories showed growth. Stores selling furniture, sporting goods, hobby items, books and music, and food and beverage items did particularly well.

. Increased employment (payrolls rose by 163,000 in July, the most in five months) has supported sales growth, adding to the number of consumers with paychecks and disposable income. But America’s recovery is still sluggish and consumer credit growth weak. With consumer spending at around 70% of GDP (spending on goods is around 25%) economists and retailers alike will be looking for strong back-to-school sales in August.

World Economy Comparison : Good Times Vs Bad Time

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Which economies have fared best and worst during the global financial crisis?
GDP growth rates slowed sharply in most rich economies in the second quarter. So where does that leave output relative to its level before the start of the financial crisis? If we rank the G7 countries according to the change in real GDP since the end of 2007, Canada tops the league. But Canada, like the United States, has a fast-growing population, whereas the number of Germans and Japanese has started to shrink. GDP per person is therefore a better measure of relative performance.
 As the chart below shows, by this gauge Canada is still 1% below its pre-crisis level and America is 3.5% down. Among the G7 countries only Germany has regained its end-2007 level. Comparing output now with its level before the crisis actually understates the depth of the slump. An alternative yardstick (see article) is to compare GDP per head now with what might have been expected if it had continued to grow at the same pace as during the ten years before the crisis. On this basis, even Germany has not yet caught up, and Ireland’s income per head is now a painful 25% below its previous trend.