Strongest holiday sales since Great Recession, up 5.5%, topping industry's forecast
13 January, 2018, 05:29
Sales at clothing stores dropped 0.3 percent, while online retailers' sales gained 1.2 percent.
Spending at US retailers rose in December for the fourth consecutive month, capping the strongest year for sales growth since 2014 and showing a continued surge in online retail sales while department-store spending slowed during a key month of the holiday shopping season.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased 0.3 percent in December following a higher revised 1.4 percent increase from the previous month.
At the same time, NRF had forecast non-store sales growth, which includes online revenue, would come in between 11% and 15% to between $137.7 billion and $142.6 billion.
"The improving labor market, robust consumer confidence and the imminent boost to disposable incomes from the recently-enacted tax cuts suggest that spending will continue to grow at a healthy pace over the first half of this year", said Andrew Hunter, an economist at Capital Economics.
"Results are even better than anything we could have hoped for", federation CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. "With this as a starting point and tax cuts putting more money into consumers' pockets, we are confident that retailers will have a very good year ahead".
Compared with a year ago, retail sales were also up in nearly every category, with some doing very well indeed.
Retailers had their best holiday season since 2010, according to the National Retail Federation, which on Friday reported that sales in the November-December period rose 5.5% compared with the year earlier period.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Total sales for the October 2017 through December 2017 period were up 5.5% from the same period a year ago. Building materials and supplies stores were up 8.1%, furniture and home furnishings grew 7.5% and electronics and appliance stores were up 6.7%.
Department store sales were also on the weak side, edging higher by just 0.1% to $58.6bn. Last month's increase in retail sales and the sharp upward revision to November data bolsters economists' expectations of an acceleration in consumer spending in the fourth quarter.
For the week, the Dow surged up by 2 percent, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 jumped by 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Retailers closed a record 7,000 USA stores past year, while dozens of big-name companies, including Gymboree, RadioShack and BCBG Max Azria, filed for bankruptcy.
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In its United Kingdom market, sales shot up by 12.9 per cent to £837.3 million with like-for-like sales up by 3.9 per cent. B&M posted a 22.7% rise in sales to £969.8mn in the 13 weeks to December 23, with like-for-like sales growing 3.9%.
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