A rash of spotty price-cutting broke out in stores across the U.S. last week. Bargain hunters in New York City's 170,000 retail stores found some of their best buys since 1948. Gimbels department store blared attention to a one-day sale in its sports department—"$70,665 worth of sporting goods for $42,578"; Bloomingdale's advertised a Simmons innerspring mattress for $43.95, reduced from $67.95; Franklin Simon had white broadcloth shirts at $3.25 which had been $4.50; Stern's offered washable cotton rugs for $39.98, cut from $59.98.

Manhattan retailers, who keep their fingers on the pulse...

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