Economy Showing Signs Of Life In Retail Sales

The nation's economy is beginning to improve.

The United States Commerce Department released its April numbers, showing retail sales were up by 1.2 percent . That's almost double what economists predicted.

The Northpark Mall in Ridgeland is a reflection of how business is going around the nation these days. There's plenty of competition, but at least the shoppers are buying again.

"Our trade area draws from approximately 47 zip codes and 20 counties. We have seen both our sales and traffic numbers increase over the last several months," mall marketing director Allison Lunsford said.

Owners of smaller businesses say there were some down times in the weeks following September 11th. But then American consumers returned to some of their old buying habits.

"Our business has been increased in such a positive way," small business owner Cappi Macsherry said. "In March we actually had our greatest increase, which was above 20 percent."

Macsherry says she's watching the growth rate of the nation's economy, but says her business, as well as other small retail stores, will continue to thrive regardless of those numbers.

"People are coming out to smaller, possibly more unique businesses than that of the national cookie cutter stores. People are just looking for more improved and more unusual goods."

Macsherry says many customers are coming to see their summer wardrobe. Mall officials say the same thing. If the national retail statistics are a gauge, shoppers like what they see.

By Davis Brister