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U.S. retailers report weak August sales


September 15, 2008
By National Retail Federation

Sept. 15, 2008 –
Retailers’ summer started off with a bang but ended with a whimper.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for
August decreased 0.3 per cent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and
increased 1.1 per cent unadjusted over last year.

Retailers’ summer started
off with a bang but ended with a whimper. According to the National
Retail Federation, retail industry sales for August (which exclude
automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 0.3 per cent
seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 1.1 per cent
unadjusted over last year.

August retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show
total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories
such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 0.3 per
cent seasonally adjusted from the previous month and decreased 0.4 per
cent unadjusted year-over-year.
 
“The back-to-school season provided a slight boost to some companies,”
said Rosalind Wells, NRF Chief Economist. “Unfortunately, retailers
were not able to sustain the momentum they saw in the first half of the
summer when families’ spending was being buoyed by the rebate checks.”
 
Consumers looking for bargains on back-to-school merchandise headed to
discount and off-price retail stores. Sales at general merchandise
stores decreased 0.2 per cent seasonally adjusted from July, but
increased 4.6 per cent unadjusted over last August. Electronics and
appliance stores sales decreased 1.3 per cent seasonally adjusted
month-to-month and decreased 0.3 per cent unadjusted year-over-year.
 
While sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores sales decreased
0.3 per cent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, they increased 0.6
percent unadjusted from last year as shoppers took advantage of new
fall merchandise.

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