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U.S. retail sales increase less than forecast in August

The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday the sales at U.S. retailers rose 0.6 percent m-o-m in August, following a revised 0.9 percent m-o-m increase in July (originally a 1.2 percent m-o-m gain).

Economists had expected total sales would advance 1.0 percent m-o-m in August.

According to the report, the largest gains in retail sales were recorded in food services and drinking (+4.7 percent m-o-m), clothing (+2.9 percent m-o-m) and furniture (+2.1 percent m-o-m). In addition, gasoline prices rose, supporting receipts at service stations (+0.4 percent m-o-m), while sales of autos edged up 0.2 percent m-o-m.

Excluding auto, retail sales grew 0.7 percent m-o-m in August after a revised 1.3 percent m-o-m climb in the previous month (originally a 1.9 percent m-o-m surge), worse than economists’ forecast of a 0.9 percent m-o-m advance.

Meanwhile, closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, and are used in GDP calculations, edged down 0.1 m-o-m in August after a downwardly revised 0.9 percent m-o-m rise in July (originally a 1.4 percent m-o-m jump). Economists had forecast core retail sales growing 0.5 percent m-o-m in August.

In y-o-y terms, the U.S. retail sales rose 2.6 percent in August after a revised 2.4 climb in the previous month (originally a 2.7 percent raise). 

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