Falling auto sales in August slowed US retail spending, but a higher-than-originally reported figure for July meant the overall pace was well above 2017, the government said Friday.
Sales of clothing and furniture also fell last month, while department stores continued their downward trend, but spending on electronics and appliances as well as health care were solid.
The biggest increase was the 1.7 percent jump in gasoline station sales, which are now up more than 20 percent over August of last year.
Total retail sales gained for the seventh straight month, but the increase was a tepid 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department said in a monthly report, which was well below the consensus estimate among economists.
That rise put spending 6.6 percent higher than the same month of 2017. Meanwhile, sales in July were revised up to show a 0.7 percent gain, better than originally reported.
Excluding autos, which declined 0.8 percent in August, total retail sales showed a more healthy increase of 0.3 percent, which make it 7.3 percent higher than a year earlier.
While brick-and-mortar stores continued to decline, online retailers like Amazon saw more gains, with a 0.7 percent increase putting sales more than 10 percent higher than last year.
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