Business: Boom Through the Gloom

"Just like Christmas" was the way a Denver merchant described his sales last week. All over the U.S., despite the steel strike, retailers had the same kind of good news. Boston department-store sales spurted 6% above last year. Dallas stores chalked up a 16% gain. Sears, Roebuck reported monthly sales of $262 million, a new June record.

Some of the spurt in retail sales was apparently caused by the feeling among consumers that prices might not be heading down any further. There was evidence to support this. In June, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices went higher, and the cost...

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