Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December

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Compared to the same month a year ago, retail sales were up by 5.4% in December, reflecting a deceleration from the 6.0% year-over-year growth in November. "Consumers are still buying but where they are buying, and how they are buying is changing and will continue to evolve as price transparency increases and e-commerce and brick-and-mortar operations of retailers continue to converge into one seamless consumer experience", he said.

Clothing and accessories stores increased 2.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

December alone was up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from November and up 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year. These so-called core retail sales are the most consistent with the consumer spending element of gross domestic product (GDP).

At the same time, NRF had forecast non-store sales growth, which includes online revenue, would come in between 11% and 15% to between $137.7 billion and $142.6 billion. The gain represented the largest increase in the period since the 5.2% year-over-year gain enjoyed in 2010, the organization noted. Nonstore Retailers were up 12.7% from December 2016, while Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 9.9% from a year ago.

Overall December sales - including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants - were up 5.5 percent from December 2016.

The retail and food services sales increased 0.4 percent from the previous month in December, said the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday.

Retail Sales Grew 0.4% in December
US retail sales rise in December, capping a strong year in spending

Shepherdson also pointed out the sharp 0.4% net upward revision to non-automobile sales for October and November, which he expected would trigger upward revisions to estimates of household consumption for the final three months of 2017.

General merchandise stores increased 4.3% unadjusted year-over-year.

Consumer confidence is at 17-year highs, equity markets are in record territory, housing continues to post steady gains and wage growth has been steadily around 3% [or more], according to a note from Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins emailed to Retail Dive.

Kleinhenz also said retailers had the right mix of inventory, pricing and staffing to help connect with shoppers.

These factors along with recent legislation have the NRF bullish on 2018.

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