September 15, 2009

Retail sales up 2.7 percent in August

Retail and food sales rose 2.7 percent in August to $351.4 billion, but sales remain sharply lower than a year ago, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Total sales for August were down 7.6 percent from August 2008, the department's Census Bureau said in a news release.

Retail trade sales were up 3 percent from July, but still were 6 percent below last year.

Gasoline station sales fell 26.7 percent from August 2008 while building material and garden equipment sales were down 13.6 percent from a year ago. Vehicle sales, propped up by the cash for clunkers program, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

The Commerce Department said the totals were adjusted for seasonal variation, and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.