Shaky Retail Growth Numbers Expected for August

Official report comes Friday


The Commerce Department's report on U.S. retail sales in August, due for release early Friday morning, should show moderating gains in most categories amid a sluggish environment for many merchants.

Total retail sales, including auto sales, are expected to reflect a 0.5% increase in August from July, according to consensus analyst estimates from Econoday. Retail sales excluding autos are expected to show a 0.3% month-over-month gain.

Those numbers compare to July's overall gain of 0.2% and a 0.5% gain excluding autos.

Slower growth in the latter category suggests that many merchants struggled to attract customers during August, a key month for back-to-school sales.