Americans have been shopping at a brisk clip recently, helping big box retailers post "better-than-expected" sales gains in June in Thomson Reuters monthly tally. An analyst cited in the Reuters report noted that the gains were due to store's being "very focused on making the right offer to the consumer, in contrast to the uneducated sales we saw during the crisis." Meaning, it seems, the cut-rate bargains being offered now appear to be working. Target, Costco, and GAP were among the chains reporting gains for the month:

The 25 chains tracked in Thomson Reuters’ monthly sales tally reported a 6.5 percent gain in sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, beating the 4.9 percent rise that Wall Street analysts expected. J.C. Penney was one of a few losers, missing estimates and deeply cutting its quarterly earnings forecast after it had to do too much discounting. Its shares fell 2 percent.

This morning, the stock market climbed due to the positive retail news and the new data from a payrolls processor showing that the addition of 175,000 private sector jobs more than doubled expectations for the month of June.