(MARKETWATCH) – The numbers: Sales at U.S. retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy posted the biggest increase in July in four months, a sign Americans are still confident in the economy even as headwinds pick up.
Retail sales increased 0.7 percent last month, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3 percent increase.
Sales rose an even stronger 0.9 percent if auto dealers and gasoline stations are omitted. Car and fuel purchases sometimes distort broader retail trends.
It wasn’t just internet retailers, though. Sales also rose sharply at department stores, restaurants and electronics outlets.
A spike in oil prices boosted sales at gas stations by 1.8 percent, but price at the pump began to recede in August. Retail sales were strong even if gas stations are set aside.