Holiday shoppers were out in full force, as retail sales were up 0.6 percent in November over the same month last year. The gain was on track with the National Retail Federation's holiday sales forecast predictions, which anticipates a 4.1 percent total increase over the season in 2013.
"As we've said all along, retailers are optimistic that they will see healthy holiday sales gains this year," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO, NRF. "November sales results confirm that optimism, and we are steadfast in our belief that we are on track to reach the 4.1 percent growth in holiday sales that NRF forecasted in October."
Shay said that while shoppers are taking advantage of promotions, they are also showing signs that they are waiting for the end of the season when promotions are potentially greater. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, store traffic dropped 5.2 percent from 2013, and the total number of same shopper trips was also down to 233.3 million shoppers from 248.6 million last year.
There are still plenty of important holiday shopping days ahead, including the week leading up to Super Saturday. This important day is predicted by the NRF to be the biggest shopping day of the season.
"Increasing wages combined with lower gas prices are providing retailers with an early holiday present this year," said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist, NRF. "Every economic indicator is pointing toward a strong holiday season. Healthy November sales should provide momentum for an even stronger December as customers continue to seek out deals all the way to Christmas."
Which categories had the biggest lift in November? Building materials and garden equipment retailers were up 1.4 percent month-to-month and 4.7 percent year-over-year. Similarly, clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 1.2 percent for the month and 2.5 percent for the year. Electronics and appliance retailers also did well in November, up 0.9 percent in November and 6.1 percent year-over-year.
-See this NRF press release
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