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Retail Sales: The Good, Bad And Bottom Line

So there’s good and bad news on retail sales.

The good news:

--April better than March, even if you include the early Easter and better weather.
--Teen retailers terrific.

The bad news:

--We may be overly optimistic here. Some cynics believe this is a head fake, and that we should not extrapolate this into some kind of consumer turnaround. Expectations were extremely low for April.

--There is a clear trend toward non-discretionary items. So Wal-Mart did a little better than even Target, and the wholesale clubs were huge. Costco sales up 8 percent; BJ's up 17.8 percent. Off-price apparel like Ross Stores and TJ Maxx were strong.

Bottom line: consumer still looks stressed, hope is the tax rebate will help some in May. The question is whether oil trumps better sales.


Questions? Comments? tradertalk@cnbc.com

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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