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July retail sales fell 1.1% as COVID-19 surge hits spending

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Americans cut back on their spending last month as a surge in COVID-19 cases kept people away from stores.

Retail sales fell a seasonal adjusted 1.1% in July from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. It was a much larger drop than the 0.3% decline Wall Street analysts had expected.

The report is the first glimpse into whether a surge in COVID-19 cases in July has kept people from heading out to shop. According to Tuesday's report, spending fell at stores that sell clothing, furniture and sporting goods.