Retail sales climb 0.5 percent in April

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported a rise in the Consumer Price Index in April, many consumers still made more purchases during the month than they did a year earlier.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported retail sales increased 0.5 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted $389.4 billion. Consumers appear to have gained confidence during the past 12 months, as retail sales have climbed 7.6 percent since April 2010.

With numbers for both February and March revised upward, the annualized growth rate estimate for the first quarter may be higher than economists initially estimated.

The rise in retail sales may indicate that consumers feel more optimistic about their money situations, despite rising gas prices and the higher cost of food. This positive sentiment may encourage individuals to improve their credit standing as well.

A number of Americans may be able to get a quick credit score boost and not even know it. This credit fix involves searching for inaccurate and problematic items on their credit reports that may be unfairly lowering their three-digit numbers. After identifying these questionable negative marks, consumers can challenge the credit companies to verify that the marks have been reported in accordance with federal law. In many cases, a credit lawyer may help consumers during their credit repair process.