October 18, 2016 / 11:57 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil retail sales drop for second month in August

(Adds data)
    BRASILIA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Retail sales in Brazil fell for
a second straight month in August even as supermarket sales
firmed, government data showed on Tuesday, in another sign of
weakness as the economy struggles to emerge from recession.
    Retail sales volumes excluding cars and building materials
fell 0.6 percent in August from July after seasonal adjustments
, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll,
statistics agency IBGE said.
    Sales fell 5.5 percent from the year-earlier period
, down from a decline of 5.3 percent in July and
compared with expectations for a 5.0 percent drop.
    Sales dropped in six of the eight sectors covered by IBGE,
with the biggest declines in office equipment, pharmaceuticals,
furniture and books.
    However, supermarket and food sales, which account for the
biggest slice of consumer spending, rose 0.8 percent from July,
as food prices started to ease from a surprise increase earlier
this year.
    High unemployment and interest rates have hurt retailers
even as prospects of an economic recovery lifted consumer
confidence off record lows. 
    A broader retail measure including automobile and building
materials sales, which are more volatile, dropped 2.0 percent in
August from July and 7.7 percent from August 2015.

 (Reporting by Silvio Cascione Editing by W Simon)
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