Sales dipped in Au­gust by most in 6 months

The Washington Post - - ECONOMY & BUSINESS -

Con­sumers cut back on their shop­ping in Au­gust by the largest amount in six months, as de­clin­ing auto sales off­set gains in other areas.

Re­tail sales fell 0.2 per­cent last month af­ter a 0.3 per­cent gain in July, the Com­merce Depart­ment said Friday. It was the big­gest one-month drop since Fe­bru­ary. Auto sales sank 1.6 per­cent, the most in seven months.

Ex­clud­ing au­tos and gas, which tend to be volatile, sales dipped 0.1 per­cent in Au­gust af­ter ris­ing 0.5 per­cent in July.

An­a­lysts said the weaker-thanex­pected Au­gust sales were partly weighed down by dis­rup­tions from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey on the Gulf Coast. Sales of gaso­line were up by 2.5 per­cent, but that in­crease re­flected in large part ris­ing prices.

Sales at gen­eral mer­chan­dise stores, which in­clude big-box re­tail­ers such as Wal­mart and Tar­get, were up 0.2 per­cent al­though sales at depart­ment stores, in­clud­ing Macy’s, edged down 0.1 per­cent.

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