U.S. retail sales surge in August

U.S. retail sales rose at the fastest pace in 3½ years in August, Reuters reported today.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed 2.7 percent after declining 0.2 percent in July. It was the biggest monthly advance since January 2006.

“Retail sales show the recovery is here. This wasn’t just autos, it wasn’t just gasoline. This was the U.S. consumer getting out of their foxhole,” T.J. Marta, market strategist at Marta on the Markets, told the news agency. “This is indisputably a good number.”

Motor vehicle and parts sales surged 10.6 percent, thanks to the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. Rising gasoline prices also added to the increase in overall retail sales. The report also showed strength across most sectors, with the exception of furniture and building materials.

Excluding motor vehicles and parts, sales jumped 1.1 percent in August after falling 0.5 percent in July.

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