It appears that confident consumers stocked up on holiday gifts and other merchandise over the 2014 holiday season, helping boost overall holiday retail sales to their highest level since 2011, according to the National Retail Federation.
Holiday shoppers took advantage of deep discounting and early sales to lift retail spending in November, says the National Retail Federation. Not including automobiles, gasoline stations or restaurants, retail sales increased 0.6% seasonally-adjusted over October and 3.2% unadjusted over November 2013. Gains were consistent with NRF’s holiday sales forecast, which anticipates an increase of 4.1% over last year.
Retailers helped boost employment gains over the 2013 holiday season. More specifically, retail-industry job gains posted at 49,200 over November and 328,600 year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
“The nation’s retailers continued to add to their payrolls in December even in the midst of the condensed holiday shopping season,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers and merchants—especially those operating clothing and general-merchandise stores—increased hiring, which may indicate a solid holiday sales season.”
Sales in November and December are expected to increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The forecast is over 2012’s actual 3.5% holiday season sales growth and higher than the 10-year average holiday-sales growth of 3.3%.
“Our forecast is a realistic look at where we are right now in this economy—balancing continued uncertainty in Washington and an economy that has been teetering on incremental growth for years,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.