US Retail Sales Show Consumer Caution

Washington, D.C., U.S. retail sales rose a weaker-than-expected 0.3% in August, data showed Friday, suggesting U.S. consumers are turning more cautious, according to global news agency Agence France-Press (AFP). Excluding volatile auto sales, the Commerce Department report showed a 0.4% decline.

The report contained an upward revision to July sales, showing an increase of 0.5% from an earlier estimate of 0.3%, with sales excluding autos up 0.7% from 0.4%. Over the past 12 months, retail sales are up 3.7%, or 3.9% excluding autos.

The August report showed much of the decline outside of autos came from falling gasoline prices. Gas station sales fell 2.4% on the price effect.

Without both the auto and gasoline factors, core retail sales were still down 0.1% last month.