Holiday Retail Sales up 3 Percent to $579.8 Billion

According to a report released today by the National Retail Federation (which is in the midst of its annual “BIG” show at Javits in New York right now), solid consumer spending in December, 2012, helped retailers finish the year with a healthy holiday season, but economic uncertainties meant cautious consumers went into stores rather than buying online. According to the NRF, December retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from November and increased 2.1 percent unadjusted year-over-year.Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 11.50.32 AM

Total holiday retail sales increased 3.0 percent, below NRF’s projected forecast of 4.1, to $579.8 billion. Non-store holiday sales grew 11.1 percent.

“For over six months, we’ve been saying that the fiscal cliff and economic uncertainty could impact holiday sales,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of NRF. “As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season.”

December retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

Other findings from the December retail sales report:

– Clothing and clothing accessories stores’ sales increased 2.5 percent unadjusted year-over-year
– Electronics and appliance stores’ sales decreased 0.4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
– Furniture and home furnishing stores’ sales increased 3.0 percent year-over-year.
– General merchandise stores’ sales decreased 3.4 percent year-over-year.
– Health and personal care stores’ sales decreased 0.7 percent year-over-year.
– Non-store retailers’ sales increased 9.6 percent year-over-year.
– Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores’ sales increased 4.7 percent year-over-year.