Holiday retail sales grew 4.1 percent year-over-year to $730.2 billion, reported the National Retail Federation (NRF). This result is in line with the NRF’s October forecast that sales would rise between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
That forecast also called for online sales to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion. In fact, online and other non-store sales were up 14.6 percent over 2018 at $167.8 billion.
The 2019 holiday growth rate is nearly double the weak 2.1 percent seen during the 2018 holiday season, which was slowed by a government shutdown, stock market volatility and interest rate hikes. Sales during December 2018 were down 0.2 percent from the year before.
“This is a consumer-driven economy, and by any measure, the consumer has put the economy in a solid position for continued growth. This is a strong finish to the holiday season, and we think it’s a positive indicator of what’s ahead,” said Matthey Shay, NRF president and CEO.
“This was a healthy holiday season, especially compared with the decline in retail sales we saw at the end of the season in 2018,” added Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist. “Despite a late Thanksgiving and worries about tariffs, the consumer didn’t go away. We’ve had months of strong employment numbers, high wages and strong household balance sheets. There’s no doubt that gave consumers a sense of confidence about their ability to spend, and they did their part to keep the economy moving.”
Retail sales in December 2019 alone increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted over November and were up 6.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
December’s results follow November’s decline of 0.1 percent month-over-month and increase of 1.3 percent year-over-year. As of December, the three-month moving average was up 4.1 percent over the same period a year ago, compared with 3.1 percent in November.
Kleinhenz said the modest growth in November and the large increase in December came partly because two key days of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend – the Sunday and also Cyber Monday – fell in December.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall December sales – including auto dealers, gas stations and restaurants – were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from November and up 5.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
News Source: idexonline