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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:38 AM

Consumers' Dec. Spending Boosts Holiday Retail Sales

Solid consumer spending in the month of December helped retailers finish the year with a healthy holiday shopping season, although economic uncertainties kept consumers cautious.

According to the National Retail Federation (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. Total holiday retail sales increased 3 percent, below NRF’s projected forecast of 4.1, to $579.8 billion. Additionally, 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, NRF’s president and CEO. “As the number shows, these issues had a visible impact on consumer spending this holiday season. We can’t expect consumers to continue to carry the burden of growing our economy—Washington must put political differences aside and do what it takes to get our country growing again and Americans back to work.”

December retail sales, released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 4.7 percent adjusted year-over-year.

http://www.progressivegrocer.com/top-stories/headlines/consumer-insights/id37140/consumers-dec-spending-boosts-holiday-retail-sales/

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