Retail sales are flat in July as consumers remain wary

Retail sales 2014
Retail sales were essentially flat in July.
(David Paul Morris / Bloomberg)

Retail sales were flat in July and missed expectations as weak car demand held back growth.

Excluding motor vehicles and auto parts sales, which can be volatile, retail sales climbed 0.1%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. However, that missed expectations as well.

Analysts expected non-car retail sales to rise 0.4% and total sales to increase 0.2%.

The July figures represent a slowdown from previous months. In June, total retail sales rose 0.2%.

The poor figures signal consumers are still hesitant to open their wallets, although other recent economic indicators have been brighter. 

The Labor Department said this week that there were more open jobs at the end of June than in more than 13 years. Workers also quit their jobs at levels not seen since 2008, indicating many see better opportunities elsewhere.

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