Retail sales inch up in June

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

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.