|Retail sales grow in November as spending remains ‘modest’|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Monday, 16 December 2013 10:52 AM EST|
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. November retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). The report is consistent with NRF’s holiday sales forecast of 3.9% 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,” Shay added. “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 last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.7% 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.”
Kleinhenz said that the 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.”
The November report also showed that book, music, sporting goods and hobby stores’ sales increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5.5% unadjusted year-over-year.