Pre-estimated retail and food service sales totaled $697.6 billion in August, up 2.5% year over year.
U.S. retail sales rose significantly faster than expected in August, driven by a recovery in gas station sales and strong apparel sales.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data released Sept. 14, retail and restaurant sales rose for the fifth straight month in August, increasing 0.6% in August compared to July.
Economists expected moderate growth in August, with the consensus at 0.2%, according to the data. compiled by Econoday. Retail sales have beaten expectations every month since May as consumer spending was robust.
According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, three retailers filed for bankruptcy from mid-August to September 14, while the average default risk fell.
The preliminary estimate of U.S. retail and food service sales totaled $697.6 billion in August, compared to a revised $693.7 billion in July, according to Census Bureau data. In August, sales rose 2.5% year-over-year.
Gas stations posted the largest monthly sales increase among major retail categories, up 5.2%. Sales at clothing and accessories stores rose 0.9% month over month.
Year-over-year, food and beverage stores saw the largest increase in sales, up 8.5%, followed by health and personal care stores, up 7.8%.
Furniture and home goods stores and retailers of building materials and garden equipment were among the retailers with the largest year-over-year sales declines, down 7.8% and 4.9%, respectively.