Retail sales up .3% in August


Retail sales posted a decent gain in August, helped by the biggest jump in auto sales in more than a year. The Commerce Department reported Friday that retail sales increased 0.3% in August, compared to July, when sales had been up by 0.5%. The strength last month was led by a 2.8% jump in auto sales, the biggest increase since July 2006. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for August (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 5.0% unadjusted over last year-attributed mostly to robust Back to School sales.