U.S. retail sales flat in July amid lower gas prices


WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. retail sales were flat in July amid lower gas prices, after rising by a revised 0.8 percent in the previous month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday in a report.

Retail sales, which aren't adjusted for inflation, totaled 682.8 billion U.S. dollars in July, according to the report. Total sales for the May-July period were up 9.2 percent from a year ago.

In May, retail sales slightly dropped by 0.1 percent, after a 0.7-percent gain in April.

In July, gasoline stations were down 1.8 percent from June, and were up 39.9 percent from July 2021. Excluding motor vehicles, parts and gasoline stations, retail sales grew by 0.7 percent in July.

Retail trade sales were virtually unchanged from June, but up 10.1 percent above last year. Non-store retailers were up 2.7 percent from June, up 20.2 percent from last year.

After adjusting for "sharply lower prices" of some goods, particularly gasoline, real retail sales actually rose 0.6 percent, "the first volume gain in three months," Tim Quinlan and Shannon Seery, economists at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an analysis.

Noting that e-commerce "notched a solid gain," Quinlan and Seery said they expect the staying power of the consumer to last into August "before a sharp spending retrenchment takes hold this autumn."

In recent months, retail sales have been dragged down by the worst inflation in decades, as consumer sentiment remains near all-time lows.

The consumer price index (CPI) has remained over 8 percent since March, and the figure in July surged 8.5 percent from a year ago, down from the previous month's fresh four-decade high but still at elevated level.

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