The start of holiday spending in November shows the economy looks healthy heading into 2019.
November retail sales were up 0.7% seasonally adjusted from October and increased 5% unadjusted year-over-year. The numbers included the first half of the holiday shopping season and showed that spending was already on track to easily meet the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) forecast, NRF said. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Consumers have the capacity and confidence to spend this holiday season,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said, citing the influence of stronger employment, improved wages, tax cuts and increased net worth. “This is a good start to the holiday season and consistent with our outlook. Consumer spending remains solid and clearly provides evidence that the economy is healthy as we head into 2019.”
NRF’s forecast predicts that holiday retail sales during November and December will increase between 4.3% and 4.8% over the same period in 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
As of November, the three-month moving average was up 4.3% over the same period a year ago. The November results build on improvement seen in October, which was up the same 0.7% monthly and 5.6% year-over-year.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said that overall November sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.2% seasonally adjusted from October and up 4.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
Specifics from key retail sectors during November include:
Online and other non-store sales were up 12.1% year-over-year and up 2.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Electronics and appliance stores were up 5% year-over-year and up 1.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
General merchandise stores were up 4.2% year-over-year and up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 4.1% year-over-year but down 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Health and personal care stores were up 3.6% year-over-year and up 0.9% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Building materials and garden supply stores were up 3.5% year-over-year but down 0.3% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Grocery and beverage stores were up 3.3% year-over-year and up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2.9% year-over-year and up 1.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
Sporting goods stores were down 7.8% year-over-year but up 0.4% month-over-month seasonally adjusted.