South Central

MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse recently reported that total U.S. retail sales (excluding auto sales) in January 2011 increased at a rate of 5.5 percent year-over-year, showing the strongest gains since April 2010. Strong sales also led to a rebound in shorter-term growth—on a month-to-month seasonally adjusted basis, January sales were up by 1.8 percent, reversing the slowdown that month-to-month sales had posted in December 2010. Excluding both auto sales and gasoline, on a seasonally unadjusted basis, year-over-year sales in January grew by 4.6 percent. The e-commerce, luxury, apparel and travel sectors showed positive sales results in January 2011. Weaker segments

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