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Census Retail Sales Numbers ‘On Track’ With NRF Holiday Spending Forecast

The Census Bureau said overall retail sales in November were up 0.3% from October and up 4.1% year over year.

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(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON, DC — November results reported by the U.S. Census Bureau show holiday season retail sales appear likely to meet the National Retail Federation’s forecast, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said.

“Today’s report highlights consumers’ strength and continuing capacity to spend,” Kleinhenz said. “Jobs and wage gains together with falling energy prices have supported holiday shopping as we predicted. Lower inflation for goods has helped savvy consumers make smart decisions about holiday purchases. The year-over-year comparison shows spending is on track to meet our projection for a sound holiday shopping season.”

The Census Bureau said overall retail sales in November were up 0.3% from October and up 4.1% year over year. That compared with a decrease of 0.2% month over month and an increase of 2.2% year over year in October.

Core retail sales as defined by NRF – excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants – were up 3.3% unadjusted year over year on a three-month moving average as of November and up 3.7% for the first 11 months of the year.

Today’s Census numbers align with the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, released on Monday, which predicted a strong November. The Retail Monitor reported that core November retail sales were up 0.73% seasonally adjusted from October and up 4.17% unadjusted year over year. That compared with a month-over-month decrease of 0.03% and a year-over-year increase of 2.63% in October.

The results come as NRF is predicting that holiday retail sales from November 1 through December 31 – based on Census data but excluding autos, gas and restaurants – will increase between 3% and 4% over 2022 to a record total of between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

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As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF provides data on retail sales each month and also forecasts annual retail sales and spending for key periods such as the holiday season each year.

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