Retail sales inch up in June

Retail sales inched up slightly in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday, though well below analysts’ expectations.

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Sales increased by 0.2 percent from May to June, according to the government figures. Analysts had projected an increase of 0.6 percent for retail sales, which account for about a third of consumer spending.

Consumer spending, in turn, accounts for about two-thirds of the economy.

Even with just the slight increase in retail sales, some economists found a silver lining, noting that core sales – which exclude cars – increased 0.5 percent. Car sales took a slight tumble in June, according to the Commerce Department data.

The economy contracted by 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014.