U.S. retail sales braked sharply inApril after strong gains in the prior two months, but that did little to change viewsthe economy was poised for faster growth this quarter.The Commerce Department said on Tuesday retail sales edged up 0.1 percent lastmonth, held back by declines in receipts at furniture, electronic and appliance
stores, restaurants and bars and online retailers, Reuters reported."The consumers are catching their breath after a rebound from the winter freeze,but we do remain on track to see stronger consumer spending ... through the
remainder of this year," said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica in Dallas.Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, rose 1.5 percent inMarch, the biggest gain in four years. That followed a healthy increase in Februaryand reflected the release of pent-up demand after a brutally cold start to the winter.Economists, who had forecast sales advancing 0.4 percent last month, said a lateEaster could have caused difficulties smoothing the data for seasonal fluctuations,causing the sharp swing from March to April.Prices for U.S. Treasury debt rose on the data, while the dollar gained against abasket of currencies. U.S. stocks rose marginally, with the Dow Jones industrial
average and Standard & Poor's 500 index both inching to record levels.