Retail sales surge in August despite spread of delta and signal economy is still strong
The numbers: Sales at U.S. retail stores rose sharply in August in sign that Americans continued to spends gobs of money despite the spread of delta, though high inflation likely accounted for some of the increase.
Retail sales increased 0.7% last month, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.7% drop.
The increase in spending was not quite as strong as it looked, though. The decline in sales in July was revised to 1.8% from a preliminary 1.1%.
Still, sales advanced in almost every major retail category in August and they rose a much stronger 1.8% if autos are excluded. A widespread shortage of new cars and trucks has dampened sales at auto dealers.
Retail sales are 15% higher compared to one year ago. What’s more, broader measures of consumer spending have also remained fairly healthy even as…