November retail, outdoor, online sales rise; NRF raises forecast

A strong Black Friday and brisk holiday shopping fueled overall retail sales up 4.5 percent for November 2011, while outdoor retail sales jumped 9 percent. Online sales are up 15 percent so far this season. SNEWS has the latest figures from NRF, Leisure Trends and ComScore.
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A strong Black Friday and brisk holiday shopping fueled overall retail sales up 4.5 percent for November 2011, while outdoor retail sales jumped 9 percent. Online sales are up 15 percent so far this season.

The National Retail Federation reported retail sales figures (which excludes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) up 4.5 percent in November, compared to a year ago. The group now sees total holiday sales rising 3.8 percent a record $469.1 billion, up from its previous projection of a 2.8-percent rise.

“Though consumers remain concerned about the economy, they are demonstrating an increased willingness to spend this holiday season, not only on gifts but also on small luxuries for themselves,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release. At the onset of this holiday season, retailers told SNEWS they were cautiously optimistic for stronger sales with some data suggesting consumers, outdoor in particular, are buying and spending more.

Outdoor retail sales continued to outpace the overall figures – rising 9 percent in November, compared to a year ago, according to the latest report from Leisure Trends Group. The strongest growth came from online sales (up 24 percent), followed by outdoor chains (up 10 percent), and specialty retail sales rose 2 percent in total dollars sold. Specialty retailers saw unit sales down 1 percent in November, Leisure Trends officials noted, only seeing a rise in dollars sold due to a 3-percent bump in average retail sale prices.

Shifting online, ComScore reports overall e-commerce sales up 15 percent to $32 billion for the first 48 days of the November-December 2011 holiday shopping season through Dec. 18.

--Compiled by David Clucas

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