USA: surprise increase in retail sales in August

USA: surprise increase in retail sales in August
USA: surprise increase in retail sales in August

The Commerce Department reports total sales up 0.7% to $ 618.7 billion. Analysts had expected a decline of 0.7%.

Retail sales rebounded unexpectedly in August in the United States, despite the continued decline in car sales and the Delta variant which slowed down traffic to some stores.

Total sales stood at $ 618.7 billion, up 0.7% from June, according to data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday.

Analysts expected a decline of 0.7%.

Sales are 15.1% above August 2020 level.

In addition, those for the month of July have been revised, and the recorded drop was stronger than initially announced, at -1.8% instead of -1.1%.

These figures take the pulse of the world’s largest economy, where consumption is the main driver.

Auto sales were once again struggling in August. They fell 3.6%, which is however a smaller drop than the 4.6% that had been recorded the previous month.

Production, in fact, is still hampered by global shortages of semiconductors, pushing up prices, which, moreover, may have cooled some potential buyers.

Restaurants and bars, which had seen their attendance rebound in previous months thanks to the vaccination, this time suffered from the Delta variant, and their sales were stable compared to July.

Consumers having shunned bars and restaurants again, it is the food and beverage stores that benefit. Their sales, which were down in July, rebounded in August (+ 1.8% over one month).

And decoration and furniture stores are also recovering (+ 3.4%).

Another consequence, online sales, which suffered in July, are on the rise again (+ 5.3%).

High prices limit some purchases. But, if inflation remained strong in August (+ 0.3% over one month, + 5.3% over one year), it nevertheless showed signs of slowing, according to the CPI index published on Tuesday by the department. work.

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