US Retail Sales Strong in November
Tue, Dec 14, 11:32 AM ET, by RetailSails.com
Improving consumer confidence and aggressive discounting by retailers led to a strong start to the holiday season. The Commerce Department reported this morning that Advance Estimates of U.S. Retail and Food Services sales for November rose an adjusted 0.8% from the prior month to $378.7 Billion following a 1.7% rise in October, while sales increased 9.2% (unadjusted) compared to the year-ago period. This is the 13th straight year-over-year gain after 15 consecutive months of declines, which was the longest such streak on record.
Total sales excluding Autos were up 7.9% from last year, while total sales less Autos and Gas Stations showed a 7.7% year-on-year increase. Retail gains have been impressive for most 2010, with year-to-date sales 6.5% higher than last year. However, nominal sales have still yet to return to peak levels, as total monthly sales were still down 0.3% from November 2007, and year-to-date sales are down 1.6% and 1.5% from 2008 and 2007 respectively.
For the month, Gas Stations (+10.1% YoY / +4.0% MoM), Nonstore retailers (+18.1% YoY / +2.1% MoM), and Clothing and Accessories Stores (+9.6% YoY / +2.7% MoM) were among the strongest gainers, while Sporting Goods/Hobby/Books & Music Stores surged to its highest year-over-year gain on record (+15.5% YoY / +2.3 MoM).
With better than projected spending so far, expectations are rising for the best holiday season in years, as both the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and National Retail Federation (NRF) raised their guidance for holiday season sales this morning:
- Given the strong November performance and promising trends in early December, ICSC is revising its November-December holiday-season sales forecast upward by 0.5 percentage points to a range of 3.5% to 4.0%. Holiday store-sales growth is still expected to be the strongest since at least 2006.
- After a solid start to the holiday season, the National Retail Federation announced today that it is revising its forecast to 3.3%, up from 2.3%. The upward revision is due to improvement in a variety of economic indicators including stock market gains, recent income growth, savings built up during the recession – all giving consumers the capacity to spend.
Click here for more detailed results of November retail sales.
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