2017 Strongest Holiday Season Since Great Recession, NRF Reports
It was a very merry holiday season for retailers. This morning, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported holiday sales (November and December) increased 5.5 percent over the same period in 2016. Total sales reached $691.9 billion as growing wages, stronger employment and higher confidence led consumers to spend more than had been expected. The sales number, which excludes restaurants, automobile dealers and gasoline stations, includes $138.4 billion in online and other non-store sales, which were up 11.5 percent from 2016. That increase marks the biggest such gain since the 5.2 percent year-over-year lift seen in 2010 after the end of the Great Recession.
“Retail has proven once again that it's the most nimble industry in the economy, able to transform and reinvent itself to meet always-changing consumer demands,” NRF CEO and President Matthew Shay said. “Retail today doesn’t look like retail 10 years ago, and it certainly won’t look the same in another 10 years. But retail is retail, and will always be here to serve its customers.”
Total Retail's Take: While 2017 had its peaks and valleys for retailers, the year certainly ended on a high note. Despite a record number of retail bankruptcies and store closures in 2017, the holiday season saw consumers come out in full force — both in-store and online. With an improving economy and growing consumer confidence, retailers have an opportunity to carry the momentum started in last year's fourth quarter into the start of 2018.