Retail Softened in August
September 18, 2006-- Home Textiles Today,
Sales turned soft during August, limping ahead a skimpy 0.2%, hitting the wall after a much larger 1.4% increase the month before, the Commerce Department reported.
A big part of the month's weakness was a slowdown in car sales, which inched up just 0.5%, after a big 4.3% increase in July. But sales were off broadly; not a single channel managed a gain of even 1.0%. The month's big winner was sporting goods, books and music stores, where sales improved by 0.8%. In second place, up 0.7%, were restaurants and bars, where consumers presumably fretted about rising interest rates and a weakening jobs outlook. Third were health and personal care stores, up 0.5%.
Home-related channels were among the month's weakest performers. Finishing at the bottom were electronics and appliances retailers and building material and garden supply outlets, each up just 0.1%. Furniture and home furnishings stores did even worse, declining by 0.3%.
The biggest loser was gas stations, where sales dipped 1.0% as oil prices eased. Clothing and accessories stores fell 0.3%, department stores dipped 0.2%.
Retail Sales in August
|Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
|Sport. Goods, books, music||0.8%|
|Restaurants & bars||0.7|
|Health & personal care||0.6|
|Electronics & appliances||0.1|
|Bldg. mat./garden supplies||0.1|
|Furn. & home furn. Stores||-0.3|
|Clothing & accessories||-0.3|
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