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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • DATVF.CHIATL
    2.041
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  • DATVF.DALLAX
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  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.459
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  • DATVF.SEALAX
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  • DATVF.PHLCHI
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  • DATVF.LAXSEA
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  • DATVF.VEU
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  • DATVF.VNU
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  • DATVF.VSU
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  • ITVI.USA
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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TLT.USA
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  • WAIT.USA
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American Shipper

U.S. retailers welcome signing of economic stimulus bill

U.S. retailers welcome signing of economic stimulus bill

   The National Retail Federation has praised President Bush and Congress for moving quickly to pass the economic stimulus legislation, H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, signed Wednesday.
   ‘To see a bill signed into law this soon is almost unprecedented,” said Steve Pfister, NRF senior vice president for government relations. “This fast action shows the urgency of this issue and the commitment the White House and the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate were willing to make to give our economy the shot in the arm it so badly needs.’
   The $152 billion measure will provide tax rebate checks of up to $600 per working individual and $1,200 per married couple, plus $300 per child for families with children and new tax incentives for job-creating business investments.
   ‘This is simple, targeted stimulus that will quickly put money into consumers’ pockets where it can boost growth by creating demand through all sectors of the economy,’ Pfister said.
   January figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales, which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from December and 4.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
   The retail trade association said January’s modest sales growth demonstrates that consumers are already focused on buying necessities ahead of discretionary items.
   ‘The January numbers are indicative of the issues consumers are facing, including the housing slump, a sluggish employment sector and high energy prices,’ said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. ‘We expect to see marginal improvements in the second half of the year once consumers begin to receive their rebate checks.’
   However, some opinion polls suggest that U.S. consumers won’t spend the money as the government hopes.
   A Washington Times online poll conducted this week found that only 7 percent of respondents would actually spend the rebate money on retail purchases. Forty-seven percent said they would pay off credit card balances or other debts. Another 19 percent said they would invest the money. The remaining 25 percent listed ‘other’ as their choice.
   An Associated Press-Ipsos poll found similar numbers with 45 percent saying the would pay bills, 32 percent investing, 19 percent spending the cash and 4 percent choosing to donate to charity.

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