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Retail sales stall in July


Consumers cooled their spending in July.

Retail sales were flat in July, in line with a revised 0.8% gain in June, according to figures released Friday by the Commerce Department. The report ended three straight months of monthly gains.

Sales in July rose 2.3% from a year ago. Excluding automobiles and parts sales, sales fell 0.3% in July — the weakest reading since January, after a 0.9% gain in the prior month.

Core sales, the figures that are used to calculate gross domestic product and which exclude such categories as auto dealers, gasoline stations and building materials merchants, were also little changed last month after 0.5% increase in June.

The report showed relatively strong sales at auto dealers and non-store retailers, with weakness in many other sectors, including department stores, where sales fell 0.5%.

Sales at auto and parts dealers rose 1.1% in July. The only other bright spot was non-store retailers, which includes online sales, which increased 1.3% over June.
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