Retail sales inch up 0.2% in June, dragged down by drop in auto sales

New York -- U.S. retail sales inched up 0.2% in June, after an upwardly revised 0.5% rise in May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

While the increase was less than expected, due mainly to an unexpected decline in auto sales, sales rose in nine of 13 major retail categories. Removing automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food service sales, retail sales were up a solid 0.6% in June.

Sales at apparel and accessories stores increased 0.8%. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 1.1%. Online and catalog retailers posted a 0.9% increase in June.

Sales at sporting goods shops rose 0.6% and sales at electronics and appliances stores gained 0.1%

But sales at building materials and garden equipment suppliers fell 1.0%.

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