by Wolf Richter
Illustrated with 13 whiplash-inducing charts.
Total retail sales in August inched up by 0.6% from July, to a new record of $538 billion (seasonally adjusted), according to Census Bureau data this morning. It was the second month in a row of only slight upticks, after big bounce-backs in May and June, from the plunge in March and April. Compared to August 2019, total retail sales were up 2.6%, not adjusted for inflation, with large differences in various categories, from restaurants to auto sales, and we’ll get to those in a moment: