November Retail Sales Increase Less Than Expected



According to the Commerce Dept., total November U.S. retail sales rose 0.2 percent over the previous month—a number analysts called less than expected.

The number was lower than the gain recorded in October, which has been revised to 0.6 percent, although it does represent the sixth straight month retail sales have risen.

Overall retail sales rose 6.7 percent over November 2010.

“The reason November appeared flat was that there were really two very different Novembers,” George Prout of Gems One Corp. tells JCK. “Retail sales had been trending down significantly in November, but sales after Thanksgiving were up as much as 300 to 600 percent for stores that promoted aggressively.”
 
Prout says that one of his customers’ sales on Black Friday exceeded $250,000. “Our reorders have been through the roof,” he says. “We are also just starting to see movement in ‘chocolate diamonds,’ no doubt resulting from intense advertising pressure from the majors, and we expect that sector to drive a significant part of gift-giving during the next ten days.”

The National Retail Federation had lower figures. The group estimates November retail industry sales rose 0.09 percent from October, and 4.5 percent over last year.

“While companies are encouraged by a strong start to the holiday season, the real test will come in December when the majority of holiday spending occurs,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement.

The group continues to forecast a holiday sales gain of 2.8 percent.

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