Retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July

Since this is back-to-school shopping season, it's reasonable to expect that the July retail sales report will get some attention on this Friday.

The Commerce Department said that retail sales rose 0.5 percent in July. That equaled the 0.5 percent increase estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Many big retail chains last week, such as Costco and Limited Brands, reported better-than-expected same-store sales for July.

In June, retail sales rose just 0.1 percent from the previous month. Not great, but better than the 0.2 percent decline that had been predicted. Here's a link to the Census Bureau's monthly retail trade report.

In other news, Exton-based WPCS International had already agreed to be acquired by DirecTv installer Multiband in exchange for $3.20 per share in June. On Thursday afternoon, the two sides said that they would "accelerate" part of the deal.

Multiband will buy WPCS' operations centers in St. Louis, Mo., and Sarasota, Fla., for $2M. The two centers generated about $13M of WPCS' $100M in annual revenue.

Why do this deal within a deal? Multiband said taking control of those two centers by Sept. 1 will help it "facilitate existing initiatives." Clear enough, right?