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Economy
November retail sales up 6 percent over last year, holiday spending on track to meet NRF forecast
For immediate release
December 14, 2017

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"This has been an impressive start to the holiday season, perhaps the best in the last few years."
Jack Kleinhenz
NRF Chief Economist

WASHINGTON – Retail sales in November increased 0.9 percent over October on a seasonally adjusted basis and were up 6 percent year-over-year unadjusted, according to calculations released today by the National Retail Federation. Online and other non-store sales grew 10.5 percent year-over-year, reflecting the growth of online shopping. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“This has been an impressive start to the holiday season, perhaps the best in the last few years,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “The combination of job and wage gains, modest inflation and a heathy balance sheet along with elevated consumer confidence has led to solid holiday spending by American households.”

“Today’s report is indicative of a strong consumer who is confident about the current and future state of the economy,” Kleinhenz said. “The improved willingness to spend and the purchasing power of consumers will continue to be an economic driver of growth into 2018.”

There were broad-based monthly increases across most sectors with the exception of general merchandise stores, which remained unchanged.

November’s results indicate that retail sales for the holiday season – defined as November and December – are on track to meet or exceed NRF’s holiday sales forecast for an increase between 3.6 and 4 percent over last year.

Specifics include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 2.5 percent seasonally adjusted from October and up 10.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 2.1 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 7.3 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 8.6 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Building materials and garden supplies stores were also up 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted from October and up 11.2 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Sporting goods stores were up 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 4.9 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 3.2 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • Food and beverage stores were up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over October and up 3.7 percent year-over-year unadjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were unchanged from October but up 4.4 percent year-over-year unadjusted.

About NRF
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. NRF.com