Retail sales in motor vehicles stores increased 1.5 percent in August. Sales in building material and garden suppliers rose 1.4 percent and those in sporting stores grew 0.9 percent.
In contrast, sales in general merchandise stores fell 0.1 percent and those in gasoline stations dropped 0.8 percent.
Core sales, which strip out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services increased 0.4 percent in August. Retail sales excluding automobiles advanced 0.3 percent.
Year-on-year retail sales rose 5.0 percent. Total sales for the June through August 2014 period were up 4.5 percent from the same period a year ago.