Retail Sales Figures Strong Ahead of Holiday Season

Heading into the holiday shopping season American consumers are showing a willingness to open their wallets.

October retail sales data from the U.S. Commerce Department show an increase of 0.3% over September and 4.1% over October 2013. Total sales for August through October of this year were up 4.5% when compared to the same three-month timeframe the previous year.

In key retail channels year-over-year sales for general merchandise retailers were up 2%, electronics and appliance stores were up 1.6%, furniture and home furnishings store sales up 1.4% and non-store retailers saw sales grow 9.1%.

Most major retailers are getting a jump start on the holiday season by publicizing their Black Friday sales circulars early, with some sales starting before the traditional day-after Thanksgiving start to the shopping season. The success of that strategy will be seen in mid-December when the Commerce Department publicizes November retail sales figures.