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Friday, January 18, 2013

NRF: Holiday Retail Sales Up 3% to $579.8 Billion


Total holiday retail sales increased 3 percent to $579.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Meanwhile, online sales for the holiday season increased 11.1 percent. Both results were below forecasts.

NRF, the retail trade association projected growth to be 4.1 percent for the two-month holiday period. Shop.org, the multi-channel retail trade association, forecasted a 12 percent growth in online sales for the months of November and December.

Solid consumer spending in the month of December helped retailers finish the year with a healthy holiday shopping season, NRF said. However economic uncertainties sent a cautious consumer to the stores. December retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from November and increased 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales. As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO.

December retail sales, released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed that retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Other findings from the NRF’s December retail sales report include:

• Clothing and clothing accessories stores' sales increased 1 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• General merchandise stores’ sales were unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 3.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Health and personal care stores’ sales increased 1.4 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Nonstore retailers’ sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 9.6 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

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