|Photo Credit: Reuters|
Retail industry sales for the 2011 holiday season increased 4.1 percent, year-over-year, to $471.5 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, beating its expectation of 3.8 percent growth.
The holiday season defined by NRF runs from November 1 till December 31. Sales figures exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants.
"The right mix of strong promotions, lean inventories and an emphasis on value put retailers in the perfect position to end the year on a high note," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “A better-than-expected holiday season is welcome news for an economic recovery that continues to be sluggish, and demonstrates retail’s powerful role as an engine of growth.”
December retail industry sales increased 4.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year and declined .06 percent seasonally adjusted from November.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department reports that December retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted over November and 6.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
Consumers stocked up on discretionary gift items in December, including home décor items, sporting goods, books and personal care items, NRF said. Despite a warmer-than-usual month, apparel sales performed extremely well. Though electronics and appliance stores saw growth in November, the shift in spending put a damper on those stores’ December sales.