Retailers report strong gains for August

NEW YORK (AP) ? Retailers are reporting strong sales gains for August despite escalating worries about an anemic economic recovery.

As merchants released their sales figures Thursday, Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Limited Brands Inc. all reported results that beat Wall Street estimates. Among the stragglers was teen merchant Wet Seal, which suffered a worse-than-expected sales drop.

The figures are based on revenue at stores open at least a year and are a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. Retailers’ revenue results are closely monitored because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and is critical for a strong economy.