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Retail sales increased in the month of August but came in at a much slower pace than anticipated by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
August retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted from last month, and increased 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
“Slow growth continues to be the economic story five years after the financial crisis,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The economy, employment, wages, and retail sales continue to stagger along. Retailers and consumers are resilient but not overly optimistic about the broader economy. While positive retail sales growth continues month-after-month, it is just not strong enough to move the needle.”
August retail sales, released Friday by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed adjusted sales for building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS 444) were at $26.23 million for August, down from July's $26.48 million. All in all, the category suffered the greatest monthly decline at 0.9%.
“Retail sales gains continue to be tepid,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Retail sales and employment, while measurably positive, have been disappointing over the last few months, and have been difficult to reconcile with consumer confidence. The data suggests that consumers remain cautious with their pocketbooks and purchases. This month’s weak retail sales report will continue to put pressure on policymakers, who are dealing with tapering, and retailers, who will need to focus on price and value to entice consumer spending.”