Retail sales rose a tepid 0.2% in August, disappointing analysts, including those at Briefing.com who were looking for a much stronger showing of an 0.4% gain. Sales in July were revised higher to show an advance of 0.4% rather than the 0.2% initially reported.
The August advance was paced by a rise of 0.9% in Auto sales following the July drop of 0.5%. Analysts at Briefing.com say they expected a better number, given the August motor vehicle report, which was the strongest for that month since 2003.
Excluding autos, overall retail sales were up just 0.1%.
Other areas of strength in August were furniture and home furnishings (+0.9), electronics and appliances (+0.8%) and health and personal care (+0.6).
Those were partially offset by declines in sales of building materials and garden supplies (-0.9%)., clothing and accessories (-0.8%) and sporting goods, hobbies and books (-0.5).
Lindsey Piegza, chief economist Sterne Agee, calls the August report “disappointing.” And she isn't particularly optimistic about the future. “Consumption has been lackluster volleying at a near 2% rate through the first half of the year,” she notes. “With income growth of less than 1% and waning momentum in the jobs market, consumption is likely to falter further.”
The complete retail sales report for August can be found on the Census Bureau website.