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.