Here come retail sales ...

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The economic indicator we've been waiting for all week is finally here.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Department of Commerce will publish retail sales data for April. Economists forecast that sales rose 0.8% month-on-month, according to Bloomberg.

Excluding auto sales, they forecast a 0.5% rise, and 0.3% excluding auto and gas sales. The retail sales control group, which feeds into gross-domestic-product calculations, is expected to gain 0.4%.

The headline retail sales rise would represent a bounce back from the 0.4% drop reported in the prior month. That would reflect a boost from strong auto sales and a slight increase in gas prices, according to Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid.

After a dismal week for retail earnings , this report gains even more significance. Shares of Macy's, Gap, Nordstrom, JC Penney and others tanked after their quarterly results showed they are still facing headwinds from online shopping to changing consumer tastes.

Economists would also be using the data as a proxy for consumer spending, to gauge whether this critical driver of the US economy will continue to sustain growth in the second quarter.

We'll have the latest at the bottom of the hour, so refresh this page for updates.

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