By Jeffrey T. Lewis
SAO PAULO--Brazilian retail sales returned to growth in August, after three months of declines, as the country's slow economic growth and the gradual decline of unemployment boosted demand.
Retail sales increased 1.3% in August from July, and grew 4.1% from a year earlier, the Brazilian statistics agency said Thursday. That compares with a revised decline of 0.1% in July from June.
A 10-day truckers strike at the end of May blocked highways around the country, preventing deliveries from reaching shops and factories and hitting retail sales, industrial production and other sectors of the economy. With economic growth sluggish, and political uncertainty high ahead of the country's October presidential elections, shoppers and businesses have been reluctant to spend more, but demand is slowly increasing and boosting sales.
Sales of clothing and shoes had the biggest gain in the month, with growth of 5.6% in August from July. Sales of fuel and lubricants increased 3% in the period, and sales of furniture and appliances rose 2%.
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