Americans cut back
The Commerce Department says spending at retail businesses rose 0.2 per cent last month, the smallest gain in four months.
Excluding volatile spending on cars, gas and building supplies, sales increased 0.2 per cent, less than half July’s 0.5 per cent gain.
The modest retail sales figures suggest consumers may be growing more cautious about spending, which could slow economic growth in the July-September quarter.
Retail sales are closely watched because they’re the government’s first look at consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of economic activity.
Sales of cars and furniture both jumped 0.9 per cent. Electronics and appliance sales rose 0.8 per cent, but clothing sales dropped 0.8 per cent and sporting goods sales also fell.
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