NRF sticks to holiday growth forecast

WASHINGTON, D.C. – That NationalRetail Federation reported that November sales are in line with its forecast of 4.5 percent growth in holiday sales.

November retail sales in the GAFS category (general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliances stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores) rose 4.7 percent over last year and increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted over October, the association said.

"Consumers are still in the game, with many splurging on high-end merchandise," said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. "November sales are an indicator that the holiday season is off to a good start."

November retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) rose 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from October and increased 9 percent unadjusted year-over-year, stated the NRF.

Several retail sectors in November saw strong growth, according to the NRF. Electronics and appliances stores saw sales up 5.6 percent over last year and 1 percent adjusted from October. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers also saw a rise in November, with sales increasing 1.1 percent over October and 19.6 percent over last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores, which dipped 0.1 percent adjusted from October, rose 4.7 percent over last year. General merchandise stores, including department stores, also saw increases of 4.6 percent over last year and 0.4 percent from October.

"Looking at the entire retail industry, holiday sales are meeting our expectations," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Comp-store sales, which measure individual companies' performances, clearly don't tell the story of the entire retail industry."

NRF continues to forecast that holiday sales will increase 4.5 percent this year to $219.9 billion. NRF defines the holiday season as GAFS sales in the months of November and December.

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