Retail sales in November increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted over October and were up 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gas stations and restaurants.
“November showed modest growth on the surface, but you have to remember that the late timing of Thanksgiving delayed the beginning of the busiest portion of the holiday season and pushed Cyber Monday’s billions of dollars of retail sales into December,” says Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, National Retail Federation. “These numbers are more about the calendar than consumer confidence. Consumer spending has been solid, and there’s still a lot of spending to be done. With strong employment and higher wages, we’re on track for a strong holiday season.”
NRF’s forecast predicts that holiday retail sales during November and December will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent for a total ranging between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
In addition, many consumers began their shopping early this year, with some starting before November. NRF surveys showed that 39 percent planned to begin by Halloween, and that consumers on average, had completed 52 percent of their shopping as of Thanksgiving Day weekend.
November’s results build on October’s increase of 0.2 percent month-over-month and a strong 4.1 percent year-over-year. As of November, the three-month moving average was up 3.3 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 4.2 percent in October.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall November sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from October and up 3.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.