Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores increased 4.1% year-over-year

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores increased 4.1% year-over-year

A rise in November retail sales has got the US holiday season off to a good start and puts spending on track to meet its forecast, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said on Friday (14 December).

November retail sales increased 0.7% seasonally adjusted over October and 5% year-over-year, according to NRF figures. The November numbers, which exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants, include a 12.1% rise year-over-year in online and other non-store sales, which were up 2.3% on October seasonally adjusted.

The numbers are based on data from the US Census Bureau, which said overall November sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.2% seasonally adjusted from October and up 4.2% year-over-year.

Sales at clothing and clothing accessory stores increased 4.1% year-over-year but were down 0.2% from October seasonally adjusted, while sales at sporting goods stores tumbled 7.8% year-over-year but were up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from October.

The November results build on improvement seen in October, which was up the same 0.7% monthly and 5.6% year-over-year. November sales were up 4.3% on a three-month moving average compared with the same period a year ago.

"Consumers have the capacity and confidence to spend this holiday season," says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, 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, reaching a total of US$717.45bn to $720.89bn.