US retail sales rise 0.8% in November, shows solid gains

14 December 2010 18:12  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US retail sales rose by 0.8% in November from October to a seasonally adjusted $378.7bn (€284bn), the Department of Commerce (DOC) said on Tuesday, a higher pace than expected and termed “solid gains” by retail specialists.

The department said that November’s retail sales also were 7.7% better than November 2009.

Economists had been expecting a 0.5% gain in store sales last month, one of the most important shopping periods of the year for US retailers.

Consumer spending is a principal driving force for the US economy, accounting for as much as 70% of all commercial activity.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) said that November’s retail sales figures represent “solid gains across the board” and indicate that consumers are beginning to release pent-up demand.

NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said the Commerce Department’s retail sales data for November show that “Consumers have not been suffering from a lack of spending power, they’ve just been missing the confidence to use it”.

“With noticeable improvement in key economic indicators combined with great deals on merchandise, consumers have certainly shown they shouldn’t be counted out this holiday season,” Kleinhenz added.

He cited recent improvements in a variety of economic indicators, including stock market gains, personal income growth and savings built up during the recession.

The federation said it was raising its forecast for sales growth in the US holiday season - the months of November and December - to 3.3% compared with the same period a year ago.

In early October the federation had predicted a more modest gain of 2.3% for the holiday season.

($1 = €0.75)

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