Compared with last year, retail sales are rising

The U.S. Census Bureau announced Wednesday that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August were virtually unchanged from the previous month, and up 7.2% from the month last year.

Adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, August sales were an estimated  $389.5 billion. Total sales for the June through August 2011 period were up 7.9% from the same period a year ago.

In the building material & garden equipment and supplies business -- NAICS 444 dealers -- adjusted sales in August were $25.019 billion, an increase of 0.2% over last month, and an increase of 6.7% over the same month last year. 

Also interesting: nonstore retailers sales were up 10.4% from last year.