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May 12, 2011 9:00 AM, EDT

Retail Sales Rise for Tenth Month

Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

Retail sales rose 0.5% in April, the tenth straight increase, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The increase was the smallest since July and followed a 0.9% March gain that was more than double the 0.4% originally reported.

April’s reading was slightly below economists’ forecasts of a 0.6% increase, Bloomberg reported.

Sales excluding automobiles and service stations rose 0.2%. Sales at auto dealers rose 0.2%. Eight of 13 major categories showed increases, Commerce said.

Almost all trucking operations depend on the health of retail sales because such sales involve nearly every type of cargo.