US retail sales rose in August, even as consumer confidence slipped slightly from the previous month amid the escalating trade war.
Total sales — excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants — rose 0.4% compared with July and 4.6% year on year, according to data the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported, citing the US Census Bureau. Online and other non-store sales climbed 14% year on year, the NRF noted.
“While consumer attitudes about the economy indicate some retreating optimism, the bottom line is that consumer spending remained resilient in August, and continued to be a key contributor to US economic growth,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said last week.
However, August’s sales growth was slightly slower than July’s, which could reflect sliding consumer confidence. The numbers in August reflect the period prior to the first round of tariffs implemented by US President Donald Trump.
“Trends remain strong, but [the slight dip] could reflect consumers’ concerns about the unpredictability of trade policy,” Kleinhenz explained. “It is too early to assess the impact of the new tariffs that took effect at the beginning of this month, but they do present downside risks to household spending.”