Retail sales in the U.S. increased in August by the most in six months, easing concern about a larger pullback in the biggest part of the economy.
The 0.9 percent gain followed a revised 0.6 percent advance in July that was smaller than initially reported, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median forecast of 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase of 0.8 percent. Demand rose for automobiles and higher gas prices boosted receipts at service stations, while back-to-school sales slowed at department stores.
Higher food and fuel costs along with smaller gains in payrolls and wages may take a toll on household finances, making it challenging for merchants such as Kohlâ€™s Corp. (KSS) and Macyâ€™s Inc. (M) Labor-market weakness prompted Federal Reserve policy makers yesterday to take another step to spur the three-year expansion.