Retail data: Americans remained cautious in July

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By The Staff

NEW YORK (AP) — Worried about the stalling economic recovery, Americans remained reluctant to spend at stores in July, especially on pricier items like jewelry, though they let go of some money for travel, according to data released Wednesday.

Revenue from high-end jewelry, which had held steady in June, plummeted in July from a year earlier, when the figures already were dismal. Furniture also suffered as the boost from homebuyer tax credits wore off. Shoppers even pulled back on shoes and children's clothing, while luxury spending — excluding baubles — was virtually unchanged.

The figures from MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which include transactions in all forms including cash, signal that spending remains choppy as shoppers grapple with an almost 10 percent unemployment rate and tight credit.

Online revenue offered one bright spot, gaining for the 12th straight month. But travel spending — including airlines, trains, rental cars and hotels — also rose from July 2009, when it fell almost 2 percent.

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