WASHINGTON – The shortened holiday shopping season spurred consumer spending in November, as Americans took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to make holiday purchases. According to the National Retail Federation – the world’s largest retail trade association – November retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 3.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Today’s report is consistent with NRF’s holiday sales forecast of 3.9 percent growth.

“Consumers took advantage of a very promotional holiday season to shop at their favorite retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumer confidence and sentiment are steadily improving, but spending remains at a modest pace. While it seems that the economy is improving, the future remains far from certain.”

“It is imperative that lawmakers not repeat the same mistakes that stalled the economy earlier this fall, and work together to compromise on the short-term budget agreement now before them. While the two-year budget framework eliminates the threat of another government shutdown, more work remains in order to provide businesses and retailers the confidence and certainty they need to hire workers and make strategic investment decisions. A continuation of political wrangling that dominated much of the year could easily hinder economic growth for the remainder of 2013 and beyond.”

November retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

“Once again, consumers have demonstrated their ability to drive the economy forward,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “By-and-large, consumers have pent-up purchasing power and are willing to spend this holiday season. Retailers will compete for each and every shopper and sale, and promotions and deals will continue throughout the month. Although this holiday season will remain challenging for some retailers, today’s sales report bodes well for a solid holiday sales season, and may provide the foundation for accelerating economic growth and momentum in the New Year.”

Other findings from the November retail sales report include:

•    Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales increased 1.8 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Electronics and appliance stores’ sales increased 1.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 8.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 1.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 9.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    General merchandise stores’ sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Health and personal care stores’ sales were flat seasonally-adjusted month-to-month yet increased 4.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 2.2 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

•    Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 5.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing 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 $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Source: National Retail Federation

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