Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

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August Sales Slightly Higher Than Expected

American consumers are keeping big spending in check by putting off buying cars, furniture, electronics, and appliances, but the back-to-school season fueled the second monthly retail sales increase in a row and slightly beat analysts’ expectations.

Following a revised .3% increase in July, retail sales in August rose .4% to $363.7 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday. Excluding the data for automobile sales, parts dealers, and gasoline stores, sales rose .5%.

Retail trade sales are 3.7% above what they were in August of 2009. Nonstore retail sales increased 10.5% from the year before and gas station sales rose 9.7% from a year ago. Sales at gas stations jumped 1.9%, the biggest gain from July to August 2010.

From July to August, sporting goods, hobbies, books, and music stores had a .9% gain in sales; clothing and clothing accessory store sales rose 1.3%, food and beverage store sales increased 1.3%; and grocery stores rose 1.4%.

The largest month-to-month drop in sales was a 1.1% decreas in both electronics and appliance stores and auto and other motor vehicle dealers, followed by a .9% drop for miscellaneous retail sales. Home improvement stores saw no change for the month.

“An increase in retail sales in both July and August is encouraging and suggests that the economic recovery continues,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “While these data show that consumers are spending, the administration recognizes that Americans are still struggling. That is why President Obama is focused on doing more to accelerate job growth in the short term and strengthen the economy in the long run, including new investments in our roads and railways and tax cuts for small businesses owners.”

U.S. Department of Commerce
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Thursday, 09 July 2020

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