According to the Commerce Department, August and food sales jumped 2.7 percent. Sales were 5.3 percent below last year. On the positive side, however, the year over year drops seem to be shrinking each month. Not that long ago, the year over year comparisons were showing close to 10 percent drops.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $351.4 billion, an increase of 2.7 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, but 5.3 percent (±0.7%) below August 2008. Total sales for the June through August 2009 period were down 7.6 percent (±0.3%) from the same period a year ago. The June to July 2009 percent change was revised from -0.1 percent (±0.5%)* to -0.2 percent (±0.2%)*..
Retail trade sales were up 3.0 percent (±0.7%) from July 2009, but 6.0 percent (±0.7%) below last year. Gasoline stations sales were down 26.7 percent (±1.5%) from August 2008 and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were down 13.6 percent (±2.0%) from last year
Calculated Risk's monthly take is here I've attached the 's chart below. There's another one at the site that's worth checking out.