Retail sales were little changed in July, the worst performance in six months, as car demand slowed and tepid wage growth restrained U.S. consumers.
The slowdown in purchases followed a 0.2 percent advance in June, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.2 percent gain. Excluding cars, sales rose 0.1 percent.
Job growth has yet to stoke the type of wage gains needed to boost household purchases, a sign the economic expansion will probably not sustain the second-quarter pickup into the end of the year. Some retailers must rely on promotions and discounts to entice customers, whose spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in September climbed 0.4 percent to 1,938.9 at 8:32 a.m. in New York.
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a decline of 0.1 percent to a 0.6 percent gain. June’s reading was unrevised.
Eight of 13 major categories showed an increase in sales last month, paced by clothing, grocery and personal-care stores, today’s report showed.
Source : Bloomberg