Retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for December rose 5.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year and 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from November, according to the National Retail Federation.
As a result, preliminary sales for the November and December 2010 holiday season rose 5.7 percent to $462 billion, surpassing NRF's forecast of 3.3 percent. This represents the best holiday sales gain since 2004 when holiday sales increased 5.9 percent.
“In spite of weakness in employment and rising gas prices, consumers showed they still have spending power which helped retailers when it counted most,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Retailers did a tremendous job planning for the season by managing inventory and hitting the right price points that helped them tap into pent up demand.”
Meanwhile the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted over November and 8.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Sales growth from November varied in strength while year-over-year sales showed great strength, NRF said. Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over last month but increased a solid 8.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores sales increased 0.4 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 8.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Though the US is still dealing with a weak housing environment, building material and garden equipment stores sales increased 1.9 seasonally adjusted over last month and year-over-year growth of 12 percent.
Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted over November but increased 1.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Sales at health and personal care stores 1.6 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 7.2 percent unadjusted over December 2009.