US retail sales weaker in August

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Washington (AFP)

Retail sales in the United States fell in August, ending the summer on a weak note after having plateaued in July, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.

Advance estimates put sales at $456.3 billion, 0.3 percent lower than the previous month but still 1.9 percent over the same month last year. An analyst consensus had forecast a drop of only 0.1 percent.

July's figure, which had previously been flat, was revised upwards, however, to a 0.1 percent gain.

Goods and services producer prices, one indicator of inflation, showed little upward pressure in August, according to Labor Department data on Thursday.

The producer price index was unchanged from July, and also showed no gain over the 12 months from August 2015.

Wholesale food and energy costs were down in the month; core prices excluding those two volatile categories were up just 0.1 percent. For the year, the core PPI was up 1.0 percent.