US retail sales unexpectedly rose

US retail sales unexpectedly rose in August after falling the previous month as the underlying spending picture turned out to be more mixed.

The value of total retail purchases rose 0.3% last month after a downwardly adjusted 0.4% decline in July, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.

Excluding gasoline, sales rose 0.8%. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.

The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey put retail sales down 0.1%.

Eight of the 13 retail categories grew last month, according to the report, including increased sales at auto dealerships.

Purchases decreased in furniture stores, health and personal care stores, and out-of-store retailers.

The value of sales at gas stations fell again, reflecting cheaper fuel prices.

As families breathe a sigh of relief at low prices at gas stations, widespread inflation limits Americans’ ability to spend on other things, whether it’s necessities like food or more discretionary purchases like back-to-school supplies.

However, the report notes that consumer spending is far from collapsing.

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