CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor Shows Strong Retail Sales Gain for First Half of Holiday Season

Holiday retail sales are increasing.
Holiday retail sales are increasing.

The holiday shopping season got off to a good start in November as retail sales showed strong gains, according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor released by the National Retail Federation.

“November Retail Monitor data shows that consumers are embracing the holiday season and promotions being offered by retailers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. “Value conscious shoppers are out looking for deals as they purchase gifts for family and friends, and this data indicates that they’re finding them. Since November makes up half the holiday season, these numbers are a positive indication of what we can expect for the full holiday season.”

An Increase in Total Retail Sales

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, were up 0.77% seasonally adjusted month over month and up 4.24% unadjusted year over year in November, according to the Retail Monitor. That compared with a month-over-month decrease of 0.08% and a year-over-year increase of 2.57% in October.

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The Retail Monitor calculation of core retail sales – excluding restaurants in addition to autos and gas – showed increases of 0.73% month over month and 4.17% year over year in November. 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 – 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.

Nine Popular Retail Categories

November sales were up in seven out of nine retail categories on a yearly basis, led by online sales, health and personal care stores and sporting goods/hobby/music/book stores, and up in all but two categories on a monthly basis, the NRF states.

Specifics from key sectors include:

  • Online and other non-store sales were up 0.8% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 26.27% year over year unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores were up 1.6% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 9.15% year over year unadjusted.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, music and book stores were up 1% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 8.25% year over year unadjusted.
  • Clothing and accessories stores were up 0.87% month over month and up 5.81% year over year unadjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 0.84% month over month and up 3.19% year over year unadjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were up 0.1% month over month seasonally adjusted and also up 0.1% year over year unadjusted.
  • General merchandise stores were up 1.03% month over month seasonally adjusted and up 0.61% year over year unadjusted.
  • Building and garden supply stores were down 1.16% month over month and down 0.06% year over year unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 0.04% month over month seasonally adjusted and down 2.08% year over year unadjusted.