U.S. retail sales rose in August from July because consumers paid higher gas prices and bought more cars and trucks. They were more cautious elsewhere, suggesting the weak economy has made many selective about spending.
Retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday. Gas station sales jumped 5.5 percent, the most in nearly three years and a reflection of sharp price increases. Demand for autos increased 1.7 percent.
Outside those categories, sales rose only 0.1 percent. Thats below Julys 0.8 percent gain. Sales at general merchandise, clothing and electronic stores fell. Sales at grocery stores, sporting goods stores and online retailers were unchanged.
This has to go down as a weak report, said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. Most of the spending in August was on products that households have to buy, such as gasoline, not items they like to buy, such as new TVs.
The retail sales report is the governments first look each month at consumer spending, which drives roughly 70 percent of economic activity.
Nestle investment could get tax break
Leaders of a central Indiana city have approved property tax breaks for a Nestle plant new production line even though they dont yet know whether the project will happen.
The Anderson City Council this week approved a $14 million tax abatement request from Nestle on $166 million in new equipment for the companys plant along Interstate 69.
Nestle USA spokeswoman Rachel Koelzer said it might be another month before officials at the companys Switzerland headquarters pick an American site for the new production line.
The additional line would add about 100 jobs at the Anderson factory. It now has about 660 workers and space for the new line without an expansion. Nestle makes Nesquik and Coffee-Mate at the Anderson plant.
iPhone 5 demand stretches delivery time
Delivery times climbed quickly as Apple Inc. started taking orders for the iPhone 5 on Friday, suggesting strong demand.
Apple began taking orders for the phone at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time. It initially promised delivery by next Friday, when the new phone also goes on sale in stores.
Four hours later, the expected delivery time had grown to two weeks, according to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White.
White said the quick rise in the expected delivery time suggested much stronger demand than Apple expected. Last year, one-week delivery of the iPhone 4S was available into the afternoon of the first order day.
Frontier reopens “Conversation” outlet
Frontier Communications will celebrate the reopening of the renovated Frontier Conversation Store at Southgate Plaza at noon today.
The companys first conversation concept outlet opened last year at its 433 Coliseum Blvd. W. location.
The store lets shoppers experience firsthand how Frontiers products work. A fire last September sidetracked the Southgate stores debut, spokesman Roscoe Spencer said.
The store is structured to give customers the opportunity to try merchandise before taking it home.
The outlet offers Frontiers line of products and services, including phone, TV and Internet.