"consumer sales were actually up 3%"
NO - - - - - - I believe the correct statement was "consumer spending was up 3%" - - - "spending on goods barely rose" - - - - quite a difference between the two statements (consumer sales vs. consumer spending) - - - - spending on utility bills and insurance probably didn't help the retail sector at all - - - - or as I have postulated in past postings is and will continue to be a "ball and chain" on "Retail Sales". Hope no one actually purchased any shares based on that statement.
"The government said consumer spending grew at a 3 percent annual rate last quarter. But that gain was dominated by a 4.4 percent rise in spending on services, reflecting higher utility bills and an expansion in health care spending from provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Spending on goods barely rose."