US retail sales post sharp drop
15 Sep 2017 - 23:46
Washington: US retail sales unexpectedly fell in August, likely hurt by the impact of Hurricane Harvey on motor vehicle purchases, suggesting a moderation in consumer spending in the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said yesterday retail sales dropped 0.2 percent last month, the biggest decline in six months. Data for July was revised to show sales increasing 0.3 percent instead of the previously reported 0.6 percent jump.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales nudging up 0.1 percent.
Motor vehicle sales tumbled 1.6 percent last month, the biggest drop since January, after being unchanged in July.
Harvey, which slammed Texas in the last week of August and unleashed unprecedented flooding in Houston, probably dented sales of automobiles.
Overall retail sales increased 3.2 percent in August on a year-on-year basis, pointing to underlying strength in domestic demand.
The Commerce Department said it had received indications from companies that the hurricane had “both positive and negative effects on their sales data