NRF: Holiday retail sales miss mark, up 3.0%

Retail Editor 5, January 15, 2013

New York - Solid consumer spending in the month of December did not meet the National Retail Federation's projection of 4.1% improvement, instead rising 3.0%.

Total holiday retail sales reached $579.8 billion, according to NRF.

Non-store holiday sales grew 11.1%. NRF digital division in October forecasted a 12.0% growth in online sales in the months of November and December.

December retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted from November and increased 2.1% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at furniture and home furnishing stores increased 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and increased 3.0% unadjusted year-over-year. Several other categories proved weaker performers over the period.

Results by retail type included:

  • Clothing and clothing accessories stores, up 1.0% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and up 2.5% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Electronics and appliance stores, down 0.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and down 0.4% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • General merchandise stores, unchanged seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and down 3.4% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Health and personal care stores, up 1.4% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and down 0.7% unadjusted year-over-year;
  • Nonstore retailers, up 0.5 % seasonally-adjusted month-to-month and up 9.6 % 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. "We can't expect consumers to continue to carry the burden of growing our economy-Washington must put political differences aside and do what it takes to get our country growing again and Americans back to work."

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

"While non-store retail sales increased a hearty 11% this December, total December sales could not make up for shortfalls in certain categories like electronics," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "Heading into 2013, consumers could continue to think twice about their discretionary purchases as they face decreases in their paychecks and other concerns with their household budgets."


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