NRF: U.S. holiday retail sales up 4%

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 NRF: U.S. holiday retail sales up 4%According to National Retail Federation, U.S. holiday retail sales during November and December saw consumers spending more freely than expected, prompted by a strengthening economy. The said sales in the months rose 4 percent over 2015 to $658.3 billion. The number includes $122.9 billion in non-store sales, which were up 12.6 percent over the year before.

The numbers exceeded expectations of $655.8 billion, which would have been an increase of 3.6 percent. NRF had forecast that online sales would grow between 7 and 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.

December was up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from November and 3.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

“These numbers show that the nation’s slow-but-steady economic recovery is picking up speed and that consumers feel good about the future,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “the retail industry overall had a solid holiday season and retailers will work to sustain this in the year ahead.”

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, “Economic indicators were up, retailers offered great deals, confidence improved and all of that empowered consumers to spend more.” Kleinhenz noted that average hourly earnings were up in 2016 over 2015, job gains remained strong and unemployment, although up slightly in December from November, remained low. Home values have also increased and the rising stock market has increased the value of consumers’ investments. NRF expects e-commerce sales during the holiday season to be on par with recent quarterly releases showing 16 percent growth year-over-year.

Sales at clothing and accessories stores increased 2.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.



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