NRF maintains its 4.5% growth forecast for the holidays

November retail sales in the GAFS category (general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliances stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores) rose 4.7% over last year and increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted over October, according to the National Retail Federation. NRF says its November sales are in line with its forecast of 4.5% growth in holiday sales.

“Consumers are still in the game, with many splurging on high-end merchandise,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “November sales are an indicator that the holiday season is off to a good start.”

November 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) rose 0.1% seasonally adjusted from October and increased 9% unadjusted year-over-year, the NRF says.

Electronics and appliances stores were big winners last month with sales up 5.6% over last year and 1% adjusted from October, according to NRF. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers also saw a robust November, with sales increasing 1.1% over October and a massive 19.6% over last year. Clothing and clothing accessories stores, which dipped 0.1% adjusted from October, rose 4.7% over last year. General merchandise stores, including department stores, also saw increases of 4.6% over last year and 0.4% from October.

In spite of recent reports of mixed results in comp store sales, NRF says overall retail sales appear in line with its forecast.

“Looking at the entire retail industry, holiday sales are meeting our expectations,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “Comp store sales, which measure individual companies’ performances, clearly don’t tell the story of the entire retail industry.”