Post image for November retail sales make for holiday optimism

November retail sales make for holiday optimism

by Jorge Hernandez on December 3, 2010

Retailers enjoyed an unexpectedly high return in November with retail sales up 6 percent, surpassing analyst's estimated jump of 3.6 percent while lifting stocks and consumer confidence.

The National Retail Federation says Black Friday weekend saw 212 million shoppers spending an average of about $365, up from 195 million spending $343 last year, reports the Los Angeles Times. Consumer confidence is at its highest in five months, according to the New York Times.

The gain in economic momentum was due in part to the heavy discounts retailers offered last month, though shoppers spent more on themselves and bought items at full price more often than they did last year. Retailers began offering discounts as early as October and offered in-store and online discounts on Thanksgiving.

"Retailers' game plan was aggressive promotions throughout the month. The results we are seeing are not solely the contribution of Black Friday sales," retail strategist John Long told the Wall Street Journal.

However, analysts say retailers will have to keep discounting items in order to see the progress continue, as a strong holiday shopping season could "speed up the nation's tepid recovery," reports the Los Angeles Times.

Strong returns in November haven't always led to success in December – the holiday season in 2008 followed a good November sales month and was the worst in over four decades, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Consumers are experiencing frugality fatigue, so they went out there and shopped for the bargains. The real test is whether they will continue to spend," Paula Rosenblum of Retail Systems Research told the Journal.

The National Retail Federation expects a 2.3 percent sales jump for the holiday season, reports USA Today.

Previous post:

Next post: