U.S. Retail Sales Grew Again in August Despite Slowing Economy

US retail sales rose in August as parents shopped for school supplies and other goods even as inflation continued and interest rates remained high, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

“August retail sales show that consumers remain steadfast in the face of continued inflation and higher interest rates,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are focused on household priorities, as evident by spending this back-to-school season. Entering the fall, we expect moderate growth to continue despite uncertainties like the direction of inflation and interest rates as well as a potential government shutdown.”

The U.S. Census Bureau said overall retail sales in August were up 0.6% from July and up 2.5% year over year. That compared with increases of 0.5% month over month and 2.6% year over year in July.

“NRF’s numbers show the pace of retail growth cooled from July but that consumers are still active even as they continue to be selective and price sensitive,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Households have the capacity to spend, but momentum is slowing, in part because savings built up during the pandemic are running lower and credit costs are rising. Consumer spending growth has slowed but there is little hint of any sudden collapse.”

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