December Retail Sales Rose 5.4% YOY

Sean Reid
January 13, 2018

Shepherdson also pointed out the sharp 0.4% net upward revision to non-automobile sales for October and November, which he expected would trigger upward revisions to estimates of household consumption for the final three months of 2017. The NRF had forecast a strong season but it only anticipated sales growth of 3.6 and 4 percent.

The December sales growth was driven by increases in building material stores and online retailers, with both categories posting 1.2% month-over-month increases. Consumer spending has continued to rise, supported by factors including low unemployment and rising consumer confidence, though the rate of growth has eased in recent years. It marked the fourth consecutive month of increase for the industry after a bruising year strewn with bankruptcies and department store closures largely from the shift to online shopping. There were increases across all retail categories except sporting goods, which was down 0.5% year-over year. Those categories related to home fared best, with building materials and supplies stores and furniture and furnishings retailers seeing a 9.9% bounce.


There were increases in every retail category except sporting goods during the holiday season, which NRF defines as November 1 through December 31.

Clothing and accessories stores were up 2.7 percent.


Retail sales - a measure of consumer spending at stores, restaurants and websites - increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in December from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Friday, matching expectations of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

"With this as a starting point and tax cuts putting more money into consumers' pockets, we are confident that retailers will have a very good year ahead", Shay added. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of USA economic output. A gallon of regular gasoline cost $2.48 on average in December versus $2.56 in November, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Its analysis released Wednesday showed that overall spending among Philly shoppers in stores grew 4 percent this last holiday season from previous year. "Overall, the underlying secular trends remain with the fast-growing e-commerce sector".

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