Late Black Friday, Shorter Holiday Season Impact November Retail Sales, According to NRF

While shoppers were out and about Black Friday weekend, they kept their pennies to themselves the rest of the month with November retail sales showing continued consumer restraint. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for November (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from October and decreased 2.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
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Washington – While shoppers were out and about Black Friday weekend, they kept their pennies to themselves the rest of the month with November retail sales showing continued consumer restraint. According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for November (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from October and decreased 2.0 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Industry related month-to-month sales saw the first increase in four months.

November retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) decreased 9.0 percent unadjusted over last year and dropped 1.8 percent seasonally adjusted from October.

“Thanksgiving came too late in the month for retailers to see strong November sales,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “With five fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, the holiday season will come down to December's performance.”

Sales were down across most retail categories; however, some sectors saw slight increases in month-to-month sales. Electronics and appliance stores sales increased 2.8 percent seasonally adjusted from October but decreased 5.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores sales increased 0.8 percent from the previous month but fell 7.4 percent from November 2007.

Health and personal care stores sales increased 1.0 percent from October and 2.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year. General merchandise stores, which include discounters, were up 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.and rose 1.3 percent from last year.

NRF continues to forecast meager holiday sales growth of 2.2 percent and defines the holiday season as retail industry sales in November and December.

The National Retail Federation is the world's largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry's key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.6 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 24 million employees - about one in five American workers - and 2007 sales of $4.5 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national and international retail associations. www.nrf.com

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*All month-to-month comparisons are seasonally adjusted; year-over-year comparisons are unadjusted.

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