Retail Sales Surged in August

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Retail sales surged in August, with the Cash for Clunkers program giving auto sales an extra boost, the government reported Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales jumped 2.7% last month, compared with July’s revised decline of 0.2%. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com predicted August sales increased 2%.

Sales excluding autos and auto parts rose 1.1%, compared to a 0.6% decrease in July. Economists expected a gain of 0.4% in August sales, excluding auto purchases.

“With broad-based gains, it’s hard to say any sector is a standout, which is great,” said Adam York, analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. “We had promising core numbers, but we don’t want to call a trend out of one month.”

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8 Responses to “Retail Sales Surged in August”


  1. 1 Deb Snyder September 16, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    I would think that the contributing factor to the jump in August would be Back-To-School sales. At my local Target, school supplies were flying off the shelves.

    Meanwhile, at my house, we dusted off the binders from last year, bought some new filler paper, new leads for the mechanical pencils, found the bookcovers that we already had. Because of my new unemployed status, we are being cautious with our money, and just not running out to buy things like new school supplies.

    Whatever increases there were in the overall retail sales couldn’t be tied to our spending.

  2. 2 Michelle Benton September 16, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    Great, the retail sales increased because more people bought brand new vehicles on credit which is one of the leading causes of what got us in this pickle in the first place (credit). Tax payers are going to end up paying for those rebates that the government more than likely borrowed money from other countries to fund the “cash for clunkers” program. I don’t know much about the complicated government funding and borrowing, but I do think the repo businesses will profit in a couple of months when people can’t afford their new foreign made cars that were discounted with our money. Does the U.S. even make fuel friendly cars? (I’m just being facetious but really).

  3. 3 Larry Oppenheimer September 16, 2009 at 10:15 PM

    I think it is too simplistic to say that credit is what caused the worldwide recession. The problem was not credit or risk, but that individuals and corporations took credit and risk so far beyond their actual means. As long as everything goes along without a problem, this can work fine, but the moment something goes wrong or a practical limit is reached, everything falls like a house of cards. It’s kind of like walking around with your shoes untied: as long as you don’t stumble over them, it’s all cool. One small stumble, however, can send you falling down a flight of steps and breaking your neck in the process.

    As to retail sales going up, it’s nice enough news, but I’m sort of with Deb in wondering how unemployment can be so high, yet people are able to spend more money. Cash for Clunkers involved 3 billion dollars (I believe they only actually used 1.9 billion). It’s amazing that was enough to make more than 1.5 percent difference (between the overall increase in retail sales and the increase in sales excluding auto purchases). It would have been nicer had C4C given a larger rebate when buying an American car than when buying a foreign one.

  4. 4 Samantha Vavricka September 18, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    It doesn’t surprise me that retails sales increased in August, with news reports saying that the economy is improving people are becoming more comfortable with spending again. Personally, I don’t think the economy has improved tremendously to warrent an increase in spending. With unemployment at it’s highest in the Napa Valley and businesses still laying off people, I’m still uncomfortable when it comes to spending money on luxury items, necessities only.

  5. 5 Christopher Morris September 29, 2009 at 7:41 AM

    The more people spend the more businesses there are and the more businesses there are the more choices people have which means they’re more likely to spend. The economy had to start getting better somewhere looks like we found our opportunity hopefully the government can think of some more creative ways to get people to spend so we don’t stop spending. I think the government is really smart for what they did.

  6. 6 Mike Beretta October 6, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    My dad took advantage of the cash for clunkers program. He never buys cars on credit, but most of the population does. Yes, there was an increase in sales, but what does this do to the buying on credit situation? No one should be spending above their means right now. If they do buy on credit, they must have the means to make those monthly payments. Too many people have just done what they always do and pay percentages of payments and then get in worse trouble. What if they lose their jobs? There is no predictability these days. Also, many of the dealerships have yet to receive any money from the program, so how long until they have to lay off some employees or close because of this?

  7. 7 Gina October 13, 2009 at 8:01 AM

    I agree that a lot of these numbers have to do with back to school sales in august. Spending is not goint to steadily increase untill people feel confident that they can afford payments, and don’t have to worry about losing their job unexpectedly.

  8. 8 Vince Kaehler December 6, 2009 at 4:37 PM

    this is a good sign for the economy. although this may be because people are looking for goods as the school year approached. nonetheless, it is a good sign for the economy to get up and running again.


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