By  on May 14, 2008

WASHINGTON — Retail sales at specialty stores increased 0.7 percent to $19.02 billion in April, but fell 0.1 percent to $16.97 billion at department stores as that channel continues to struggle.

The underlying economic challenges faced by merchants were evident in a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent drop in April sales for all retail and food service providers, dragged down by soft automotive sales, after increasing 0.2 percent in March, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

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