Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Holiday retail sales rise 5.5 percent, way above forecast

Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December December's retail sales were the best in three years; Philly retailers did well too
Laurie Berry | 13 January, 2018, 04:02

The federal government also revised its November estimates upward to 0.9% growth over October, from 0.8%.

For example, after warning of a tough holiday Target reported that same-store sales in November and December grew 3.4%, Nordstrom said that net sales rose 2.5% and same-store sales rose 1.2% in that period, and teen apparel retailer American Eagle beat forecasts with a same-store holiday sales rise of 8%. Sales in restaurants and bars rose 0.7 percent, while department and general merchandise stores saw a more modest rise of 0.1 percent. Macy's posted same-store sales growth of 1.1 percent for November and December.

Data on retail sales can be volatile from month to month, aren't adjusted for inflation and don't include spending on most services such as housing and health care.

"We knew going in that retailers were going to have a good holiday season, but the results are even better than anything we could have hoped for", said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials expected consumer spending will continue moderate growth in the near term, underpinned by the strength of the labor market, further improvements in household net worth, and buoyant consumer sentiment, according to minutes of Fed's policy meeting in December a year ago.

Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December

Holiday sales from November 1 through December 31 rose 5.5 percent over the same period in 2016, to $691.9 billion. "Our consumer data showed that small home-related items like decor and accessories were one of the most popular gifting categories this holiday season". The lobbying group had forecast holiday spending growth of 3.6 percent to 4 percent.

Not all categories of retail fared well in December.

Every retail category except for sporting goods showed gains during the final two months of the year, according to the NRF.

"We see a very healthy consumer, and we see a lot of signs of the strength of that consumer", Mr. Andrus said.

Overall though, the IHS said the holiday sales lifts its outlook for the fourth quarter. Bon-Ton Stores, like many other retailers, has faced challenges as customers shifted from brick-and-mortar and mall shopping toward online retailing, and The Wall Street Journal has reported the chain has considered a possible bankruptcy filing. Fluctuations in sales often reflect changes in gas prices, not volume. Spending was up at furniture sellers, grocery stores and restaurants.

European Union adviser: gay couple in Romania should get equal treatment
The Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld said: "This is fantastic news and a landmark opinion for rainbow families". It will also ensure the term "spouse" is always seen as gender neutral by law.

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