NRF: November Consumer Spending Matches Forecasts

The shortened holiday shopping season spurred consumer spending in November, as U.S. consumers took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to make holiday purchases. According to the National Retail Federation, November retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, increased 0.6% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 3.9% unadjusted year-over-year, consistent with NRF’s holiday sales forecast of 3.9%.

“Consumers took advantage of a very promotional holiday season to shop at their favorite retailers during this Thanksgiving weekend,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumer confidence and sentiment are steadily improving, but spending remains at a modest pace. While it seems that the economy is turning the corner, the future remains far from certain.
Shay continued: “It is imperative that lawmakers not repeat the same mistakes that stalled the economy earlier this fall, and work together to compromise on the short-term budget agreement now before them. The two-year budget framework will eliminate the threat of another government shutdown, and provide businesses and retailers the confidence and certainty they need to hire more workers and make strategic investment decisions. Failure to reach an agreement, and a continuation of policy and political wrangling that dominated much of the year, could easily hinder economic growth for the remainder of 2013 and beyond.”

November retail sales, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, which include categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants, increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4.7% adjusted year-over-year.

“Once again, consumers have demonstrated their ability to drive the economy forward,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “By and large, consumers have pent-up purchasing power and are willing to spend this holiday season. Retailers will compete for each and every shopper and sale this season, and promotions and deals will continue throughout the holiday. Although this holiday season will remain challenging for some retailers, today’s retail sales report bodes well for a solid holiday sales season, and may provide the foundation for accelerating economic growth and momentum in the New Year.”