Core sales, which strip out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.1 percent in July after 0.5 percent rise in June.
Sales at auto dealerships fell 0.2 percent in July after declining 0.3 percent in June. Excluding cars, sales rose 0.1 percent. Receips at non-store retailers, which include online sales, edged down 0.1 percent.
Sales at clothing retailers increased 0.4 percent and receipts at sporting goods shops grew 0.2 percent.
Sales at electronics and appliances stores declined 0.1 percent, while receipts at building materials and garden equipment suppliers rose 0.2 percent.