Aug Retail Sales on all metrics were a touch above expectations, headline, ex transports and ex auto’s/gasoline. Also, the core reading which takes out building materials, in addition to gasoline and auto’s, rose .6%, a bounce back from the July fall of .1%. August is back to school month and clothing sales rose 1.2% (clothing inflation a factor with cotton prices at 15 year highs), sporting goods up .9%, dept stores up .4% and on line retailers up .6%. Furniture sales though fell .5% and electronics were down 1.1%. Food and beverage sales were up a big 1.3% but likely due in part to higher food prices. Bottom line, the numbers read better than expected and in light of the everyday economic nervousness, it’s good to see but its back to school and that was a key catalyst for the lift.