Retail Sales Don’t Meet November Projections

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Despite record-setting digital numbers on Black Friday, retail sales failed to meet analysts’ projections in November.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would accelerate 0.5% in November, but according to just released stats from the U.S. Census Bureau retail sales increased just 0.1% in November compared to October. The good news is that November sales were up 2.1% year-over-year. Part of the blame for the below expectations results is how Thanksgiving fell this year.

“These numbers are more about the calendar than consumer confidence,” NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “Consumer spending has been solid, and there’s still a lot of spending to be done. With strong employment and higher wages, we’re on track for a strong holiday season.”

Kleinhenz noted that November 2018 was up an unusually strong 4.7% over the year before, while December 2018 was down 0.2%. These results make it likely that December numbers could show a nice bump year-over-year, especially with Cyber Monday falling in December this year.

Performance of key retail sectors for November month-over-month sales include:

  • Online and other non-store sales +0.8%
  • Electronics and appliance stores +0.7%;   
  • Grocery and beverage stores +0.3%   
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores +0.1%;  
  • General merchandise stores +0.1%;  
  • Sporting goods stores -0.5%.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores -0.6%.
  • Health and personal care stores -1.1%