Retail Sales On-Pace To Reach Holiday Forecast
Dec 17, 2013
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The National Retail Federation said November retail sales were on-pace to satisfy its holiday growth forecast—but also warned that U.S. lawmakers needed to work together and compromise on a budget agreement to avoid stalling the economy.

November retail sales (not including cars, gas stations, and restaurants) were up 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year.

The National Retail Federation said the data from the U.S. government is consistent with the NRF 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,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “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.”

Shay added: “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.”

“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:
• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales were up 1.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 8.0% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers stores’ sales were up 1.8% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.
• General merchandise stores’ sales were up 0.1% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 0.9% unadjusted year-over-year.
• Nonstore retailers’ sales were up 2.2% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and 6.5% unadjusted year-over-year.

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