Shoppers took advantage of promotions in November

Shoppers took advantage of promotions in November

US retail sales continued to increase in November, setting the wheels in motion for a solid holiday season, new research has suggested. 

Retail sales were 0.7% higher than in October, according to the latest figures from the Department of Commerce, and 4.7% higher year-on-year.

However, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores slipped 0.7% month-on-month, but increased 4.1% year-on-year. At general merchandise stores, sales were 0.1% higher in November, and 1.2% higher on the prior year.

Department stores, meanwhile, saw sales rise 0.3% on the previous month, but fell 2.6% year-on-year. Sales at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, edged up 0.1% from October, and grew 5.5% year-on-year.

Separate data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, showed November retail sales edged up 0.6% on October, and rose 3.9% year-on-year.

"Consumers took advantage of a very promotional holiday season to shop at their favourite retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

"Consumer confidence and sentiment are steadily improving, but spending remains at a modest pace. While it seems that the economy is improving, the future remains far from certain."

"It is imperative that lawmakers [do] 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."

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz added: "Once again, consumers have demonstrated their ability to drive the economy forward. By-and-large, consumers have pent-up purchasing power and are willing to spend this holiday season."

Retailers will compete for every shopper and sales, he noted, and deals and promotions will continue throughout the rest of December.

"Although this holiday season will remain challenging for some retailers, today's 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."