If anyone is pleased with the lukewarm national retail sales figures for July, it is probably auto dealers.
Car sales represent the brightest spot in the Department of Commerce figures released Aug. 13, which overall showed a 0.4% gain in retail and food spending over the previous month. But auto sales were up nearly 9% from July 2009 and 1.7% from June.
"It is better news," said Jeanne Brewer, owner of Acura of Glendale. "We're seeing a little increase over what we were doing last year. The good news is we're also starting to see a few more people out into the marketplace, making decisions to repair their vehicles."
At Star Auto Group on Brand Boulevard, sales of Mazdas were up 67% compared with the same period last year. Sales at the group's Ford unit were up at least 21%, said owner Steve Bussjaeger.
"We are selling more cars and trucks, no question," he said.