December retail sales in the United States, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, were up 0.8% seasonally adjusted from November and increased 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
NRF said solid consumer spending in December helped retailers end 2012 with a "healthy" holiday shopping season, but below NRF's pre-season forecast.
Retail sales for the holiday retail shopping season - December and November - were up 3.0%. In October, the association projected growth of 4.1%, to $579.8 billion.
Non-store (mostly online) holiday sales grew 11.1%, below Shop.org's October forecast of 12.0% growth.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay blamed the low increase on the economic uncertainty and the looming fiscal cliff.
"As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season," Shay said. "We can't expect consumers to continue to carry the burden of growing our economy - Washington must put political differences aside and do what it takes to get our country growing again and Americans back to work."
December retail sales from the U.S. Department of Commerce showed total retail and foodservices sales - including non- automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants - increased 0.5% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.
The report found that, in December 2012, sales at electronics and appliance stores were down 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and were down 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year.
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