Retail Sales Dipped in August

US retail sales dipped 0.2 pct. in August as auto sales fell

US retail sales dipped 0.2 pct. in August as auto sales fell

Retail trade sales were down 0.3% (±0.5%) from July 2017, and up 3.3% (±0.7%) from past year.

Retail trade sales fell 0.3% month over month but rose 3.3% year over year. Non-store Retailers were up 8.4% (±1.6%) from August 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 7.5% (±1.9%) from previous year.

The government said this was the biggest one-month decline since February, and it was driven by a 1.6 percent fall-off in auto sales. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.2% increase.

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Retail sales fell 0.2 per cent last month after a 0.3 per cent gain in July, the Commerce Department said Friday. On a year-over-year basis August sales showed some strength, increasing 3.7 percent unadjusted. The climate, however, is wrought not just by e-commerce but also by a correction to a couple of decades' worth of over-expansion in some segments, most notably department stores but also, experts have told Retail Dive, in grocery. Nonstore retailer sales are up 8.4% year-over-year as online retailers continue to grow their market share. Some firms reported a drop in sales, the agency noted. Auto sales sank 1.6 percent in August, the most in seven months.

Though the retail sales report was weaker than expected, the underlying trends remain strong, said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Bank.

Sales at gasoline stations increased 2.5% during August after falling in two preceding months.

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Clothing sales declined 1.0% on the month and there was also a decline in building material sales.

Consumer spending is the main engine of the US economy, accounting for more than two-thirds of total economic output. That reflects higher prices at the pump. Furniture and home furnishing stores saw a rise of 0.4% month over month and 7.5% year over year in August.

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