Washington, D.C. -- A report released Wednesday by the Commerce Department said that retail sales were flat in August, the weakest showing in three months.
Apparel retail sales fell 0.7% in August, following a 0.3% decline in July. Department store sales declined 0.3%. General merchandise stores such as Wal-Mart and Target fared better, with 0.1% gains. Analysts said Hurricane Irene likely disrupted sales in late August along most of the East Coast.
The Commerce Department also said Wednesday that July retail sales were slightly weaker than first thought, rising 0.3% rather than the initial reading of 0.5%.
The lack of growth suggests consumer reaction to the fluctuating stock market and continued concerns about the economy.