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US Clothing Sales Rose in August

Sales at U.S. clothing and accessories stores bucked the overall trend in August, as Americans snatched up the last of the summer’s bargains on apparel.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s advance monthly report, released Thursday, indicated that retail and food service sales were $456.3 billion last month, a 0.3% decline from July—which was also down from June—but 1.9% above August 2015. Retail trade sales were down 0.5% from the previous month and up 1.4% year-over-year, with 8 out of 13 categories showing negative growth.

Clothing and accessories sales picked up, rising 0.7% to $21.3 million compared to July’s $21.17 million, but this was a 0.3% decrease from a year earlier. Sales at sporting goods stores had the opposite experience: falling 1.4% from $7.85 million to $7.7 million, but improving 1.1% year-over-year. Meanwhile, department stores’ struggles continued in August, with sales declining 0.6%, though not as bad as last year’s 5 percent drop.

Somewhat surprisingly, sales at non-store retailers (including e-commerce) decreased 0.3% last month to $46.7 million, after gaining in July and June, but e-tailers needn’t worried about this month-to-month change—it’s still 10.9% better than August 2015.