November US Retail Sales Beat Expectations
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start amid deep discounting, likely keeping the economy on a moderate growth path this quarter and further alleviating fears of a recession, reports Reuters. The Census Bureau said overall retail sales in November were up 0.3 percent from October and up 4.1 percent year-over-year. That compared with a decrease of 0.2 percent month-over-month and an increase of 2.2 percent year-over-year in October. The rebound in retail sales underscores consumers' resilience and the success of retailers' deep discounting strategies to attract holiday shoppers.
Total Retail's Take: November results reported by the U.S. Census Bureau show holiday season retail sales appear likely to meet the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) forecast, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. The NRF is predicting that holiday retail sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 — based on Census data but excluding autos, gas and restaurants — will increase between 3 percent and 4 percent over 2022 to a record total of between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.
Kayla Bruun, senior economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, commented to Total Retail: "While U.S. adults continue to express weariness over elevated price levels, inflation relief in certain categories and the resilient labor market has so far enabled many households to find ways to keep spending ahead of the holidays."
There is a caveat to rising sales numbers, however. "The results support positive initial buzz from the beginning of the holiday selling season, including Black Friday weekend and Cyber week. However, there remain signs of discretionary spending pullbacks, with relative weakness in categories like furniture and clothing," says David Silverman, senior director at Fitch Ratings. "Best-positioned retailers continue to be those with lean inventory positions, which allow them to limit unplanned promotions to clear goods."
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.