Post holiday sales and gift cards helped consumers open up their wallets to take advantage of special deals on popular apparel, electronics and sporting goods items. According to the National Retail Federation, January retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and decreased 0.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
The National Retail Federation today released its 2009 holiday forecast, projecting holiday retail industry sales to decline one percent this year to $437.6 billion.* While this number falls significantly below the ten-year average of 3.39 percent holiday season growth, the decline is not expected to be as dramatic as last year’s 3.4 percent drop in holiday retail sales nor as severe as the 3.0 percent decline in annual retail industry sales expected for all of 2009.**
Even with discounts abounding on seasonal merchandise and apparel, shoppers continued to hold tightly to their wallets last month. Unseasonal weather through most of the country last month also impacted spending. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for June (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) decreased 3.8 percent unadjusted over last year and decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.
Without stimulus checks from Uncle Sam, consumers had less money in their pockets to spend last month. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for May (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from April but dropped 4.7 percent unadjusted over last year.