Retail and food services sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% to $427 billion for August, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
After sales headed up a revised 0.4% in July, analysts were underwhelmed by August's results, having expected a similarly sized 0.5% gain.
When excluding more volatile automobile sales, August's numbers are slightly more in line with estimates. Auto sales increased 0.9%, putting retail sales, less motor vehicles, at 0.1% growth compared to analysts' 0.3% expectations. Gasoline station sales, often a more volatile variable, stayed steady for August.
Outside of these two sectors, miscellaneous store retailers led sales with a 1% increase, while building material & garden equipment dealers fell behind with a 0.9% drop.
Over the last year, retail sales are up 4.7%. Motor vehicle & parts dealers take the sales cake with a 10.9% gain, while gasoline stations lag in last place with a 1.5% decline in sales.