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Retail sales inched up in November, driven by consumers taking advantage of deep discounts and early sales in advance of the holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Not including automobiles, gasoline stations or restaurants, retail sales increased 0.6 percent seasonally-adjusted over October and 3.2 percent unadjusted over November 2013. Gains were consistent with NRF’s holiday sales forecast, which anticipates an increase of 4.1 percent over last year.
“As we’ve said all along, retailers are optimistic that they will see healthy holiday sales gains this year,” said NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay. “November sales results confirm that optimism, and we are steadfast in our belief that we are on track to reach the 4.1 percent growth in holiday sales that NRF forecasted in October.”
Shay noted that the shopping experience is evolving for both consumers and retailers, adding that shoppers are "seizing opportunities to take advantage of early promotions and showing signs they may wait until the end of the season when promotions are even greater.”
“Increasing wages combined with lower gas prices are providing retailers with an early holiday present this year,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Every economic indicator is pointing toward a strong holiday season. Healthy November sales should provide momentum for an even stronger December as customers continue to seek out deals all the way to Christmas.”
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries.