Retail sales increase in November

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Dec. 13, 2013 – Total retail sales were up 0.7 percent in November – the largest sales increase in five months – despite low Black Friday weekend sales, according to NAFCU Senior Economist Curt Long.

“Black Friday weekend sales numbers were disappointing at retail stores as consumers shifted to online purchases at the beginning of the holiday shopping season,” Long said in a NAFCU Macro Data Flash report. “Vehicle sales and building supplies both helped drive sales last month.”

October’s retail sales numbers were revised to an increase of 0.6 percent.

Core retail sales – excluding light vehicles and gasoline – increased 0.6 percent in November, while retail sales of auto and gas increased 0.8 percent for the month. Year-over-year growth in retail sales was 4.6 percent in November. The October number was revised to 4.2 percent growth.

Results among the major retail segments were mixed in November. Nonstore retailers led the way with 2.2 percent growth, followed by motor vehicle and parts stores (1.8 percent) and building material stores (1.8 percent). Sales dropped most severely for gasoline stations (-2.2) and clothing and accessory stores (-0.2 percent).
                                                                                                
“Reduction in food stamp benefits and a decline in fuel prices were both a drag on sales in November,” Long said. “Total retail sales growth has varied throughout the year as different segments led sales each month, but much of the recent improvement has been due to increased discretionary spending.”

Related Links:
NAFCU Macro Data Flash report