August retail sales unchanged from July (by Ruth Mantell)
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. retail and food services sales in August reached $389.5 billion, with virtually no growth from the prior month as consumers spent more at gas stations and grocery stores, but less at motor vehicles and parts dealers, according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday. Excluding the volatile auto segment, sales rose 0.1%. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected an increase of 0.3% for the overall number, as well as for the data excluding autos. Sales for July were revised to 0.3% from a prior estimate of 0.5%, while sales for June were revised to 0.2% from 0.3%. Over the past three months, retail sales have climbed 7.9% compared to the same period one year ago. In August, sales rose 0.3% at gasoline stations and 0.5% at grocery stores, among other areas. Meanwhile, sales fell 0.3% at motor vehicles and parts dealers - the lowest result since May.