Retail Sales Up On Holiday Bump in December

13 January, 2018, 04:05 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December

Same-store sales at department stores through December 25 declined more than 6 percent.

However, sales of some more discretionary items, such as sporting goods, book and music stores declined by 1.6%, alongside a 2.9% fall in those at miscellaneous store retailers. The NRF had forecast a strong season but it only anticipated sales growth of 3.6 and 4 percent.

A separate reading of the season showed sales rose 5.7 percent in November and December combined, the best holiday period since 2005, said Craig Johnson, head of research firm Customer Growth Partners. The October 2017 to November 2017 percent change was revised from up 0.8% to up 0.9%. "Whether they shopped in-store, online or on their phones, consumers were in the mood to spend, and retailers were there to offer them good value for their money".

Compared with a year ago, retail sales were also up in nearly every category, with some doing very well indeed.

Sales of furniture grew by 0.7% to $10.33bn, while those of building materials increased by 1.2% to hit $32.98bn.

Early results for the season from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracked spending through December 24, reported holiday sales grew by 4.9%.

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Last month's sales were supported by a 1.2 percent jump in sales at gardening and building material stores.

General merchandise stores climbed 4.3 percent, while clothing and accessories stores grew 2.7 percent.

"We knew going in that retailers were going to have a good holiday season but the results are even better than anything we could have hoped for, especially given the misleading headlines of the past year", NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

Fed officials expected the tax cuts approved by the U.S. Congress would provide "some boost" to consumer spending.

Sales gains weren't evenly distributed in December, according to First Data's SpendTrend. "Overall, though, these data are consistent with the very elevated consumer confidence numbers, and they imply that the saving rate, which is already very low, continues to decline", said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Retail spending represents 35 percent of all spending in Philly, and grew 3.7 percent during the holiday season.

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