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August CE/Majap Retail Sales Up 1.5%: Feds

Washington – CE and appliance dealers eked out a 1.5 percent
sales gain in August for a total take of $8.5 billion, according to preliminary
estimates by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Sales rose a more modest 0.5 percent from July.

The monthly figures, which are compiled by the U.S. Census
Bureau, were adjusted for seasonal variations and holiday and trading-day
differences, but not for price changes.

In comparison, total retail sales excluding restaurants and
car dealers and auto parts stores rose 7.5 percent in August and 0.1 percent
from July.

“Consumer spending in August was tempered by a continued
lack of confidence in the strength of our economy,” observed Matthew Shay,
president/CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), a retail trade group.
“Having carried the brunt of the economic recovery so far, consumers may be
waiting for good news in terms of employment and market stability, cautiously
spending on things they need and thinking twice about things they want.”

Added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, “August retail
sales [month over month] mirror August employment figures – zero growth.
Consumer spending has stalled, and it will be important for consumers to see
positive changes in the economic outlook going into the fourth quarter. While
we’re not expecting a complete pull back in spending, the outlook remains
modest in terms of growth.”