U.S. Retailers Post Flat August Sales

       

       

WASHINGTON—With consumer confidence taking a dive, U.S. retailers reported no increase in sales in August over July, according to this morning’s report on retail sales by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Total U.S. retail sales were $389.5 billion on an adjusted basis, which was 7.2 percent ahead of August 2010. The channels that sell home products had a laggard performance last month. Furniture and home furnishings stores saw their sales fall 0.2 percent from July to August, and increase by just 0.2 percent over last year’s August.

General merchandise stores’ sales were up 0.1 percent over July and 3.8 percent ahead of August 2010. Department stores (excluding leased departments) reported declines of 0.3 percent from July and 0.7 percent from August of last year.

“August retail sales mirror August employment figures—zero growth,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the National Retail Federation. “Consumer spending has stalled, and it will be important for consumers to see positive changes in the economic outlook going into the fourth quarter.”