"This is a good start for the holiday season."NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz
WASHINGTON – November retail sales were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from October and increased 5 percent unadjusted year-over-year, completing the first half of the holiday shopping season with spending on track to easily meet the National Retail Federation’s forecast, NRF said today. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Consumers have the capacity and confidence to spend this holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, citing the influence of stronger employment, improved wages, tax cuts and increased net worth. “This is a good start to the holiday season and consistent with our outlook. Consumer spending remains solid and clearly provides evidence that the economy is healthy as we head into 2019.”
NRF’s forecast predicts that holiday retail sales during November and December will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over the same period in 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
As of November, the three-month moving average was up 4.3 percent over the same period a year ago. The November results build on improvement seen in October, which was up the same 0.7 percent monthly and 5.6 percent year-over-year.
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 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Specifics from key retail sectors during November include:
- Online and other non-store sales were up 12.1 percent year-over-year and up 2.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Electronics and appliance stores were up 5 percent year-over-year and up 1.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- General merchandise stores were up 4.2 percent year-over-year and up 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 4.1 percent year-over-year but down 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Health and personal care stores were up 3.6 percent year-over-year and up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Building materials and garden supply stores were up 3.5 percent year-over-year but down 0.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Grocery and beverage stores were up 3.3 percent year-over-year and up 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2.9 percent year-over-year and up 1.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
- Sporting goods stores were down 7.8 percent year-over-year but up 0.4 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.