NEW YORK (AP) — Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases Americans spent at a brisk pace last month, though much of that spending was done online and not at restaurants or other industries beleaguered by the arrival of the delta variant.
Retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in August from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Thursday. That uptick caught economists looking for a downturn by surprise. Consensus estimates were for a decrease of 0.85%, according to a survey by FactSet.
But the delta variant has changed where Americans spend their time and money. Online sales soared 5.3% last month, while sales at restaurants and bars, many of which believed they were through the worst of the pandemic until the arrival of delta, were flat from the month before.