US retail sales rose by a better-than-expected 0.8 percent in July, breaking a three month losing streak and offering hope of faster growth in the third quarter, official data showed. Sales grew at the strongest pace since February as more goods were sold across all major sectors. Sales of autos, furniture, electronics, building materials, food and beverages and sporting goods all increased from June. Consumer spending accounts for around two-thirds of the US economy, with retail spending accounting for a large portion of that total. Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, described the Census Bureau report as \"encouraging news from the US consumer.\" But, she added, \"stronger growth is needed to ensure that this momentum continues.\" \"It is certainly nice to get some good news on the US economy once in a while.\" Wall Street economists had expected sales to rise by a modest 0.2 percent. In a separate report, the Labor Department said wholesale prices of finished goods picked up in July after a four-month decline. The index was up 0.3 percent from the previous month and just 0.5 percent from a year ago.