Economic Report: U.S. retail sales falter in August

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Sales at most retailers including auto dealers fell in August.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales at U.S. retailers fell 0.3% in August and declined for the first time in five months, as store traffic dropped off for most stores.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.1% decline.

Retail sales have zig-zagged for months. Some segments such as online shopping have been doing great, while more traditional sellers such as department stores have fared poorly.

In August, hardly any retail segments did well.

Receipts at auto dealers slipped 0.9% in a disappointing month that spurred some industry leaders to predict sales are unlikely to top last year’s record.

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