Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Retail sales in the U.S. surprisingly stayed almost flat in July, according to a Department of Commerce report released on Wednesday.
July retail sales were nearly unchanged after climbing 0.2 percent in June, the Commerce Department said. Economists had forecast a gain of 0.2 percent.
The lower-than-anticipated sales data was partially due to a slight decline in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, which fell by 0.2 percent in July after dropping by 0.3 percent in the prior month.
Excluding sales of automobiles, July retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent after rising by 0.4 percent in June.
Wednesday’s report showed that gains in sales by clothing and accessories stores as well as health and personal care stores were partially offset by a large fall in sales by department stores.