December Retail Sales Rose 5.4% YOY

Kohls stock price retail

Kohls stock price retail

The U.S. Census Bureau today confirmed that holiday sales beat all expectations.

December retail sales - a measure of consumer spending at stores, restaurants and websites - rose 4.2 percent, the most in three years, the Commerce report concluded, while e-commerce sales rose 1.2 percent from November and 12.7 percent from the prior December. Consumer spending, which makes up for over two-thirds of USA economic activity, increased at a 2.2 percent annualized rate for the third quarter.

Clothing and accessories stores increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

Sales at home and garden stores jumped 1.2 percent and increased 0.7 percent at restaurants and bars.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.4% in December after jumping by 1.3% in November. Online purchases and other non-store sales reached $138.4 billion, an 11.5% improvement over the previous year. Nonstore Retailers were up 12.7% from December 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 9.9% from past year. The NRF had forecast a strong season but it only anticipated sales growth of 3.6 and 4 percent.

Spending at US retailers rose in December for the fourth consecutive month, capping the strongest year for sales growth since 2014 and showing a continued surge in online retail sales while department-store spending slowed during a key month of the holiday shopping season.

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Business information provider IHS Markit noted that though 2017 was the strongest holiday since 2005, when it came to brick-and-mortar sales, some sectors lost steam as Christmas approached.

General merchandise stores increased 4.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

Department store chain Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., announced that its comparable-store sales for the nine-week holiday period decreased 2.9%, while sales declined 6.6% in the third quarter.

He added, "Furthermore, the improving labor market, robust consumer confidence and the boost to disposable incomes from the recently enacted tax cuts suggest that spending will continue to grow at a healthy pace over the first half of this year as well". The group also credit the tax cuts for giving consumers more leeway in their budgets.

"The economy was in great shape going into the holiday season, and retailers had the right mix of inventory, pricing and staffing to help them connect with shoppers very efficiently", Kleinhenz said.

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