Economy

Holiday retail sales rise 5.5 percent, way above forecast

Holiday retail sales rise 5.5 percent, way above forecast

December's retail sales growth shows "the dire predictions of the demise of retail are premature", Moody's vice president Mickey Chadha said.

Shepherdson also pointed out the sharp 0.4% net upward revision to non-automobile sales for October and November, which he expected would trigger upward revisions to estimates of household consumption for the final three months of 2017. "General merchandise sales (without food or autos) barely moved up, and most of the increase was in non-store retailing", Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, told Retail Dive in an email.

Macy's reported 1.1 percent growth in same-store sales during that period, led by increased demand for active apparel, shoes, dresses and coats. Sales in the fourth quarter as a whole increased 5.5% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The holiday season was expected to be one of the best in a decade thanks to higher-than-usual consumer confidence and an increasingly lower unemployment rate, but the numbers released by the industry group were still a shock. November's number was upwardly revised to reflect a 0.9% increase. However, many questioned exactly where that increased spending would go.

"After years in hibernation, consumers - accounting for 70 percent of GDP - are finally flexing their spending muscles", Johnson said.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4% compared to the 0.8% increase originally reported for the previous month. Miscellaneous store retailers, which includes the likes of dollar stores and Walmart, lost 2.9 percent in sales in December, perhaps because of market saturation.

Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December

GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders cited these factors: Consumer confidence at 17-year highs, steady wage growth of about 3 percent, the booming stock market, and the robust housing sector.

Not all categories of retail fared well in December. Spending for the two months combined was the best since 2005. "We saw improved sales trends in our stores and continued to see double-digit growth on our digital platforms".

Sales at gasoline stations were unchanged during December after growing 3.0% in November.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in December after climbing by 0.4 in November.

Sales were uneven across other categories last month.

But there was also some bad news in Friday's report, which showed sales fell 1.6 percent at sporting goods stores and 0.3 percent at clothing stores. Spending was up at furniture sellers, grocery stores and restaurants.

Sprint (S) Given a $5.00 Price Target by KeyCorp Analysts
Americafirst Capital Management LLC bought a new position in Sprint during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $156,000. Leavell Investment Management Inc sold 5,346 shares as the company's stock declined 2.84% while stock markets rallied.


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