NATIONAL NEWS

Retail sales rise 0.6% in August as inflation on many items eases, but gas price hike boosts number

Sep 14, 2023, 5:51 AM

Shoppers wait to purchase items in a boutique on Tennyson Street Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in northwe...

Shoppers wait to purchase items in a boutique on Tennyson Street Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in northwest Denver. On Thursday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for August.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans stepped up retail spending modestly from July to August as the price of gasoline jumped, cutting into budgets as many families send their kids off to school.

Retail sales rose 0.6% in August, compared with a revised 0.5% increase in July, according to a report issued by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

The big rise in gas prices accounted for more than half of the inflation increase recorded in August, the U.S. reported Wednesday.

Excluding gas, retail sales were just up 0.2%, according to the report.

Sales at gas stations rose a robust 5.2%, while furniture and home furnishings stores saw a 1% drop in sales. Clothing and accessories stores had a 0.9% gain. Restaurants saw a 0.3% increase. Grocery stores had a 0.4% increase.

The uptick in retail sales reflects the economy’s resiliency despite a still tough economic environment. Yet spending has been volatile this year after surging nearly 3% in January. Sales tumbled in February and March before recovering in the spring and summer.

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Retail sales rise 0.6% in August as inflation on many items eases, but gas price hike boosts number