Rebate Checks Boost U.S. Spending

Washington, D.C.–Retail sales increased at twice the predicted rate last month, due in part to the tax rebate checks distributed to U.S. citizens, the Financial Timessaid.Total retail sales grew 1 percent in May–the largest monthly increase since November. Sales figures for April were revised to a 0.4 percent increase from a 0.2 percent decline.The first rebate checks–worth more than $50 billion–were distributed last month; the rest will be distributed in the coming weeks.