Sales in US may rise

STAFF WRITER

Wed, May 15, 2002 - Page 21

US retail sales probably increased in April at the fastest pace in six months as consumers took advantage of discounts to spend more on new cars and trucks, economists said in advance of yesterday's report. Sales are expected to have risen 0.6 percent last month after a 0.1 percent March gain, based on the median of 66 forecasts in a survey by Bloomberg News. Excluding autos, sales probably rose 0.4 percent last month, after rising 0.3 percent in March. Purchases of cars and light trucks rose last month to the fastest pace since November, helped by cheap loans and price cuts of as much as US$2,500, industry data show. General Motors Corp and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit also benefited from rising personal incomes and consumer optimism that had returned to levels seen before Sept. 11, economists said.