Retail sales rose 7.4 percent in November

Retail industry sales for November (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) rose 7.4 percent unadjusted over last year and increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from the previous month, according to the National Retail Federation. The increase is in line with NRF’s holiday sales forecast of 6 percent growth.

“Consumers shook off concerns about higher energy costs and responded well to the seasonal promotions,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “If November is any indication of what consumers are capable of, retailers can expect a very happy holiday season.”

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 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted from November, and increased 6.3 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

NRF says strong year-to-year growth was reported across nearly every retail industry category, including building material and garden equipment and supplies stores, which jumped a whopping 14.3 percent over last year, according to NRF. The main drivers for this holiday, apparel and electronics, also experienced solid growth. Sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose 7.6 percent year-over year and electronics and appliance stores jumped 7.4 percent from November 2004. 

NRF says it expects retail industry sales to increase 5.6 percent this year over 2004. Holiday sales, which are defined as retail industry sales in the full months of November and December, are expected to rise 6 percent to $438.5 billion.