Retail Sales Flat in July

August 13, 2014—Retail Sales were flat in July as car demand slowed and consumers remained cautious in their spending. This is the weakest performance in six months.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Americans spent more money on food and clothing but scaled back purchases of automobiles and at department stores.

Excluding autos, retail sales ticked up 0.1% in July from the prior month. On a year over year basis, retail sales were up 3.7% compared to July of 2013.

This soft retail report comes after the strongest six-month stretch of sustained hiring since 2006. But lack of wage growth remains an obstacle to increased consumer spending. Average hourly earnings rose 2% from a year earlier.

Prices rose 2.1% in June from a year earlier which could also be a factor in this lackluster retail sales figure.