Sales dipped in August by most in 6 months
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.