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U.S. Retail Sales Rose 0.6% in August — Update

By Harriet Torry

Retail spending rose 0.6% in August for the fourth straight monthly increase, but at a slower pace as some extra unemployment benefits ran out.

The increase reported by the Commerce Department marks an eased pace than earlier in the summer when spending rebounded sharply from steep declines that occurred early in the coronavirus pandemic. July's gain was revised lower, to a 0.9% increase from an earlier reading of a 1.2% rise.

Consumers spent more on clothing, electronics and furniture in August as students went back to school, many for online classes because of the pandemic. Spending fell on groceries and sporting goods.

Economists say government stimulus meant to offset the pandemic's economic damage has helped retail spending. One of those programs -- $600-a-week in enhanced unemployment benefits for workers -- expired at the end of July. President Trump signed an executive action temporarily extending $300-a-week in extra aid on top of regular state benefits.

Write to Harriet Torry at harriet.torry@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 16, 2020 08:58 ET (12:58 GMT)

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