WASHINGTON - Americans boosted their spending at retail businesses only modestly in August, indicating that economic growth remains sluggish. Consumers bought more cars, furniture and electronics last month but held back on most other purchases.
Spending at retail businesses rose just 0.2 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the smallest gain in four months. But the government said retail spending was stronger in the previous month than first estimated, revising the July estimate to 0.4 percent from 0.2 percent
Excluding volatile spending on autos, gas and building supplies, sales in August increased just 0.2 percent, or less than half July's 0.5 percent gain.
Consumer may be growing more cautious about spending, a trend that could slow economic growth in the July-September quarter.