By  on April 28, 2014

Hope springs eternal in the world of consumer economics — but it’s a tempered kind of optimism that’s taken hold in the U.S. this year with a teetering stock market and rising food prices causing some agita.

Trends have perked up along with the spring weather after a brutal January and February, when strung-out shoppers and severe winter storms hit merchants hard. Retail and food-service sales topped expectations in March, racing out of the gate with a 3.8 percent seasonally adjusted gain versus a year earlier.

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