Retail Up, Home Décor Flat
December 18, 2006,
Washington — Catching Wall Street and analysts by surprise, U.S. retail sales unexpectedly surged by 1.0% in November, the biggest one-month gain since July, when sales rose by 1.4%.
As consumers stock up on iPods and flat panel TVs, the nation's electronics and appliances stores were the month's clear winner, driving sales up a heady 4.6%, far outpacing any other retail channel. At the bottom of the list, and the month's only losers, were furniture and home furnishings stores, illustrating just how deferrable a purchase sheets and towels can be, as consumers decide to make-do until after the holidays.
With gas prices still high, but down just enough that consumers are driving more, gas station sales rose by 2.3%. Sales at building material and garden supply outlets rose by 1.8%; car sales gained 1.2%.
Illustrating the seismic shift in consumer shopping patterns in the era of the internet, non-store retailers drove their sales higher by 1.3%, but sales were flat at department stores.
Retail Sales in November
|Electronics & appliances||4.6%|
|Bldg. mat./garden supplies||1.8|
|Health & personal care||0.9|
|Sport. goods, books, music||0.8|
|Restaurants & bars||0.7|
|Furn. & home furn. Stores||-0.1|