According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales in the November/December timeframe increased 5.5% over the same period in 2016 to $691.9 billion.
NRF asserted that wage gains, stronger employment and higher consumer confidence led shoppers to spend more than it had expected. The number, which excludes restaurants, automobile dealers and gasoline stations, includes $138.4 billion in online and other non-store sales, which were up 11.5% over the year-prior period.
The results topped NRF’s forecast of holiday sales between $678.75 billion and $682 billion representing an increase of between 3.6% and 4%. The gain represented the largest increase in the period since the 5.2% year-over-year gain enjoyed in 2010, the organization noted.
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.
December sales gained 0.4% seasonally adjusted from November and advanced 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year, NRF indicated, citing United States Census Bureau data.
By retail sector, according to the Census Bureau, unadjusted year over year retail sales at building materials and supplies store increased 8.1% while they gained 7.5% at furniture and home furnishings stores, 6.7% at electronics and appliance stores, 4.3% at general merchandise stores, 2.7% at clothing and accessories stores, 2.2% at health and personal care stores, and 0.5% at sporting goods stores.
“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,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “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. “