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Retail sales shot up despite expectations for January

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  • Staff Report 

US retail sales unexpectedly jumped 3% in January, defying economists’ expectations of a modest gain of 1.8% following a 1.1% drop in December. The unexpected surge in sales could signal that consumers are engaged in retail therapy, despite low confidence and inflation. Although it is a sign of a healthy economy, it could lead to an imminent rate hike.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about the Baby Trend ‘Sit n’ Stand’ double and ultra strollers, after a 14-month-old child died when his head got caught in the space behind the pivoting front canopy. The CPSC advises parents to remove the canopy when not in use and ensure children are fully secured when using the stroller.

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In addition, a new financial scam is spreading, known as “pig butchering,” in which a stranger contacts the victim by text or social media claiming to be helping a friend with investments. The scammer befriends the victim and encourages them to invest in fake bank websites, which appear legitimate and show investments growing. Eventually, the scammers take all the invested money and shut down the fake bank. Victims have lost their life savings to this scam, prompting authorities to issue a warning: If a stranger offers financial advice by text message, it is likely to be a scam.

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