November retail sales were up 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted from October and increased 5 percent unadjusted year-over-year, completing the first half of the holiday shopping season with spending on track to easily meet the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) forecast, NRF said on Friday. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.
“Consumers have the capacity and confidence to spend this holiday season,” said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at NRF, citing the influence of stronger employment, improved wages, tax cuts and increased net worth. “This is a good start to the holiday season and consistent with our outlook. Consumer spending remains solid and clearly provides evidence that the economy is healthy as we head into 2019.”
NRF’s forecast predicts that holiday retail sales during November and December will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over the same period in 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
Online and other non-store sales were up 12.1 percent year-over-year and up 2.3 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted, while clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 4.1 percent year-over-year but down 0.2 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted.
As of November, the three-month moving average was up 4.3 percent over the same period a year ago. The November results build on improvement seen in October, which was up the same 0.7 percent monthly and 5.6 percent year-over-year.
NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said today that overall November sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were up 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from October and up 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.