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Retail sales pull ahead for third straight month

Retail business in the United States showed strength for the third month in a row in July, rising a seasonally adjusted $1.5 billion, or 2 percent, from the previous month. The Commerce Department said total retail sales were $77.1 billion, which compares with $73.1 billion in July of 1979, a 5.5 percent increase in the past 12 months. Durable goods and automobile sales were strong contributors to the July rise.