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.