Steady Retail Sales Report Propped By Autos

Consumer spending in the world’s largest economy was relatively stable through August - at least that is what the headline number would suggest. According to the Commerce Department’s advance report, retail reciepts grew 0.3 percent last month - the same pace marked in July. However, looking at the survey reveals a slightly different picture of consumer spending. When auto sales were excluded from the overall figure, the figure dropped to a 0.4 percent contraction month over month (the biggest dip in eleven months). Taking heed of these very different results we take a look at the summary components. Motor vehicles and parts sales grew 2.8 percent last month, following two monthly declines. Beyond this considerable advance, all the other positive reading from the sub-gauges were modest. The value reciepts for furniture purchases grew 0.5 percent, electronics 0.4 percent and healtcare 0.3 percent. On the other hand, building materials (in response to the housing slump) spending dropped 1.0 percent, clothing sales dipped 0.1 percent and total gasoline reciepts plunged 2.4 percent.