Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Retail Sales up in November as Americans Hit Gas Rather Than Brakes on Spending
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 4 months ago on
December 14, 2023

Share

NEW YORK — Americans picked up their spending from October to November unexpectedly as the unofficial holiday season kicked off, underscoring that shoppers still have power to keep buying.

Retail sales rose 0.3%, in November from October, when sales were down a revised 0.2% according to the Commerce Department on Thursday. Sales were expected to decline again in November due to a myriad of issues, including uncertainty over the economy. Excluding car and gas sales, sales rose 0.6%.

As they have been doing for much of the year American consumers, a huge engine for economic growth in the U.S., hit the stores, shopped online or went out to restaurants.

Business at restaurants rose 1.6%, while sales at furniture stores rose 0.9%. Online sales rose 1%. Business at clothing and accessories stores rose 0.6%. Electronic and appliance sales, however, fell 1.1% Sales at department stores fell 2.5%. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

The urge to spend for Americans appears to have some running room, even after a blowout summer. Consumer spending jumped in the July-September quarter. Economists have been expecting spending to slow in the final three months of the year as credit card debt and delinquencies rise, and savings fall.

“While consumers continue to face hurdles from higher borrowing costs, tighter credit conditions and elevated prices, a still-strong labor market, a positive trend in incomes and an easing in price pressures should keep spending and growth positive for now,” wrote Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics.

U.S. employment data last week showed that employers added 199,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate declined to 3.7%. Inflation has plummeted in little over a year from a troubling 9.1%, to 3.2%. While that’s still above the desired level, the economy by most counts is likely to avoid the recession many economists had feared, a potential side effect of U.S. attempts to cool inflation.

Public Mood Improving as Inflation Cools

Yet people remain gloomy, according to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. The preliminary December figures issued Friday showed moods have improved as more people see inflation cooling.

Moreover, many economists worry about how shoppers are paying for all the stuff. Stores have been discounting holiday merchandise earlier and heavier. Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School, believes that stores have been intensifying their discounting to get shoppers to buy.

Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate,noted that credit card balances and rates are at all-time highs.

“It feels like the holiday debt hangover could be particularly nasty this year,” he said.

The strong retail numbers Wednesday were particularly surprising given some of the news coming from retailers themselves.

In the most recent quarter, retailers including Walmart and Macy’s said that shoppers were being more selective in what they were buying as the holiday shopping season approached.

Walmart attracted shoppers looking for deals, but its expectations going forward were muted. Sales at Target slid even though the chain did better than many industry watchers had expected.

Sales fell at Home Depot as well as customers put off home renovations as well as purchases of big-ticket items like appliances and other goods often bought with credit cards.

Yet the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, still expects shoppers will spend more during the 2023 winter holidays than last year.

The group forecast in November that U.S. holiday sales will rise 3% to 4% for November through December. That is slower than the 5.4% growth over the same period a year ago, but more consistent with the average annual holiday increase of 3.6% from 2010 to pre-pandemic 2019.

Retailers still have six of the top 10 busiest days of the season ahead of them, including Dec. 26, according to Sensormatic Solutions, which tracks store traffic. On average, the top 10 busiest shopping days in the U.S. account for roughly 40% of all holiday retail traffic, it said.

The government’s monthly retail sales report offers only a partial look at consumer spending; it doesn’t include many services, including health care, travel and hotel lodging.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

DON'T MISS

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

DON'T MISS

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

DON'T MISS

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

UP NEXT

Austin Tells Congress Israel Is Taking Steps to Boost Aid to Gaza as Lawmakers Question US Support

UP NEXT

Will China Flood the Globe With EVs, Green Tech? Latest on US-China Trade Fight

UP NEXT

JPMorgan’s Dimon Warns Inflation, Political Polarization, Wars Creating Risks Not Seen Since WWII

UP NEXT

CA Labor Priorities and Business ‘Job Killers’ on a Collision Course

UP NEXT

4.8 Magnitude NYC Earthquake Unnerves the Northeast

UP NEXT

Robust US Job Growth Indicates Continued Economic Strength

UP NEXT

State Department Under Fire for Downplaying Attack on Humanitarian Workers in Gaza

UP NEXT

US Job Openings Rise Modestly to 8.8 Million in February in Strong Labor Market

UP NEXT

Person Catches Bird Flu After Being in Contact With Texas Cows

UP NEXT

Learn the Latest About Bitcoin From Crypto the Wonderdog & Chris Kameir

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

4 hours ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

15 hours ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

16 hours ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

18 hours ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

18 hours ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

19 hours ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

19 hours ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

21 hours ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

21 hours ago

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

23 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

When Sacramento changed its plan to demolish a homeless encampment on a vacant lot on Colfax Street, instead offering the homeless occupants...

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

3 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

4 hours ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

4 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

15 hours ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

16 hours ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

18 hours ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

18 hours ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend