Retail activity was flat in July as falling fuel prices held back gas station sales and consumers turned more heavily to online shopping, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday.
While advance retail sales were unchanged, total receipts excluding autos rose 0.4%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 0.1% increase in the top-line number and a flat total ex-autos. June’s gain was revised down to 0.8% from 1%.
Retail and food sales excluding gasoline and autos rose 0.7% from a month ago.
The numbers are adjusted seasonally but not for inflation, and come during a month when the consumer price index also was flat.
A tumble in fuel prices off their record nominal highs pushed down…