Outdoor financials: U.S. sales slow in August, plus Deckers

U.S. sales slow in August, Deckers downgraded.
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U.S. sales slow in August
U.S. consumers moderated their shopping in August as the price of gas topped more than $3 a gallon. Sales at stores and food establishments in August rose 0.2 percent from July, after jumping 1.4 percent in July from June, the Commerce Department said.

Excluding auto dealers -- whose sales in dollar terms rose slightly even though they sold fewer vehicles -- the August increase was also 0.2 percent, slightly below economists' expectations. Further excluding gasoline stations, where a sharp price decline from the early August peak precipitated a drop in the dollar value of sales, retail sales rose 0.4 percent.

The August report contrasted with July's surprisingly strong data, which had cast doubt on the idea that slowing consumer spending would cool the economy and relieve inflationary pressures. "This shows that the July surge was not a true indication of what is happening," Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at consulting firm MFR Inc., told the Wall Street Journal. "The consumer has ratcheted back."

Consumer spending overall remains on the rise, and some economists see grounds for resurgence. Taken together, the retail-sales figures for July and August are consistent with inflation-adjusted consumer-spending growth of about 3.5 percent in the third quarter, up from 2.6 percent in the second quarter.

Deckers downgraded
Matrix Research downgraded Deckers Outdoor Corp., parent of Teva, Ugg and Simple, on Sept.13 from "buy" to "hold." It had previously downgraded the footwear-maker in early June from "strong buy" to "buy." Deckers closed at $47.17 on Sept. 13, up $0.72 from the previous day's trading.

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