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January 11, 2024

NRF: Retailers Posted Strong December Sales

Posted In: Retail Articles

Strong December retail sales capped off a solid holiday shopping season, according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, published by the National Retail Federation.

The CNBC/NRF calculation of core retail sales, excluding restaurant, automobile and gasoline revenues, increased 0.19% month over month and 2.4% year over year in December. Retail sales increased 0.73% month over month and 4.17% year over year in November.

Total December retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, gained 0.44% seasonally adjusted month over month and up 3.07% unadjusted year over year in December, according to the Monitor. In November, retail sales increased 0.77% month over month and 4.24% year over year.

In 2023, total retail sales advanced 5.32% over 2022 and core retail sales were up 4.46%, according to the Monitor findings. By channel, December sales came in as follows:

  • General merchandise stores are up 0.86% month over month seasonally adjusted and 0.84% year over year unadjusted.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores are down 0.9% month over month, seasonally adjusted, and 3.76% year over year unadjusted.
  • Building and garden supply stores are down 1.52% month over month and 10.17% year over year unadjusted.
  • Electronics and appliance stores are down 3.22% month over month seasonally adjusted and 6.3% year over year unadjusted.
  • Health and personal care stores are up 0.17% month over month, seasonally adjusted, and 5.58% year over year unadjusted.
  • Grocery and beverage stores are up 0.84% month over month and 2.39% year over year unadjusted.
  • Sporting goods, hobbies, music, and books are up 0.62% month over month seasonally adjusted and 2.25% year over year unadjusted.
  • Clothing and accessories stores are down 0.44% month over month but up 4.28% year over year unadjusted.
  • Online and other non-store sales are up 2.59% month over month, seasonally adjusted, and 31.17% year over year unadjusted.

The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor launched in November and has provided data on monthly sales in physical and virtual stores since. Unlike survey-based numbers collected and published by the United States Census Bureau, NRF maintained that the Retail Monitor uses actual, anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity Solutions.

Late last year, NRF forecast that holiday retail sales from November 1 through December 31 – excluding autos, gas and restaurants – would increase between 3% and 4% over 2022 to a record of between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. NRF based its holiday forecast on Census Bureau data, the organization pointed out. So, the final determination on holiday sales awaits the release of the bureau’s December numbers next week.

“December’s numbers combined with November’s results show retailers had a very successful two-month holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in announcing the Monitor results. “Clearly, retailers got it right this holiday season, providing consumers with what they wanted, options on when and where to make their purchases and with prices customers were comfortable paying. These advanced insights from the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor give everyone who follows the retail industry a jumpstart on government data that won’t come out for another week.”

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