Consumer Spending on Discretionary Categories Boosts October Retail Sales, According to NRF
-Retail Industry Sales Increase for 16th Straight Month-
Washington, November 15, 2011 – Led by discretionary purchases, October retail sales saw impressive growth across the board, an encouraging sign for retailers as the holiday season gets underway. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales increased 0.7 percent from September and 4.7 percent over last October.
October retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 6.7 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Retailers’ early holiday promotions seemed to strike the right chord with shoppers last month,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Knowing the economy is still a big factor in customers’ shopping decisions, retailers will continue to offer great deals and exceptional value throughout the holiday season.”
“October retail sales support the assertion that consumers have a distinct desire to spend, bolstering hopes for solid sales growth in November and December,” said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist, NRF. “This momentum bodes well for this holiday season.”
Earlier this month, NRF forecast holiday sales to rise 2.8 percent this year to $466 billion. NRF defines holiday sales as retail industry sales in the months of November and December.
Additional highlights of October sales include:
• Electronics and appliance stores’ monthly sales grew the most in two years, increasing 3.7 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month and 3.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Unseasonal winter-like weather helped boost traffic at building material and garden equipment stores, whose sales grew 1.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and a solid 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 1.3 percent over September and 7.0 percent unadjusted from the previous year.
• Health and personal care stores sales increased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over September and 4.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
• As a transitional month, consumers expectedly cut back on apparel purchases. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores decreased 0.7 percent seasonally adjusted over the previous month, but increased 4.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s Retail Means Jobs campaign emphasizes the economic importance of retail and encourages policymakers to support a Jobs, Innovation and Consumer Value Agenda aimed at boosting economic growth and job creation. www.nrf.com