November retail sales rise 4.5%
December 13, 2011,
Washington D.C. - The National Retail Federation today reported that November retail industry sales - excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants - rose 4.5% over last year.
NRF estimates a this year brought a new Black Friday sales record, with 226 million shoppers spending $52 billion in stores and online from Thanksgiving Day through the following Sunday.
"Though consumers remain concerned about the economy, they are demonstrating an increased willingness to spend this holiday season, not only on gifts but also on small luxuries for themselves," noted Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo.
But he warned that while companies "are encouraged by a strong start to the holiday season, the real test will come in December when the majority of holiday spending occurs. Retailers have been working all year to make sure that the last two weeks before Christmas deliver the promotions and value that today's shoppers expect."
November retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales - which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants - increased by 0.2% from October and 6.8% unadjusted year-over-year.
NRF said it continues to forecast holiday sales growth of 2.8%, as announced in early October. But in light of stronger-than-expected November and previous months' sales, NRF plans to reevaluate its forecast this week.
"Moderate retail sales increases every month have significantly contributed to America's economic recovery and, while growth is slow, retailers realize that moderate, sustainable gains will put their business and consumers in the best long-term position," said Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist.