National Retail Sales In November Up 6 Percent Since 2016

Retail Trade Organization: November Numbers Bode Well For Strong Performance During Holiday Season

Shopping mall
Josh Reynolds/AP Photo for BJ’s Wholesale Club

Retail sales in November were up 6 percent nationwide compared to 2016, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade association for retailers.

Betty Hurd, a retail expert at Madison Area Technical College, said the November numbers from NRF are encouraging for retail performance over the whole holiday season.

“I mean the projections were to only be up 3.5 to 4 percent (for the entire holiday season), so that’s a healthy, healthy start,” Hurd said.

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Fitchburg resident Nina Akli runs a shop called Afribbean Baby on the online homemade marketplace Etsy, where she makes and sells African-inspired accessories for babies and new moms.

Akli said Black Friday was her biggest day for sales, and said the holiday shopping season has been good for her overall.

“I would say my sales have doubled,” she said. “Dollar amount, maybe by $250 so far.”

Online stores like Akli’s had one of the biggest gains in sales. According to NRF, November online and other non-brick-and-mortar-store sales were up 10.5 percent since 2016. The category further saw a 2.5 percent seasonally adjusted increase compared to October.

Hurd said the warm winter Wisconsin has seen so far is also a good sign for holiday sales, calling the weather a “game-changer” for shoppers.

“The weather’s really been good for people to get out and about, which I think is why we saw another 10 million people over the holiday weekend,” she said.

More than 174 million shoppers made it out from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, according to NRF, beating their own prediction of 164 million shoppers.

Other big gains were in building materials and garden supplies stores, which were up 11.2 percent. Furniture and home furnishings saw an 8.6 percent increase. And electronics and appliance stores jumped 7.3 percent.

NRF expects sales numbers for December to keep pace with its estimate of between 3.4 and 4 percent growth in sales nationally, compared to 2016.

Akli opened her shop three months ago and said the holiday-themed accessories she made are selling great this season. She said the most popular item in her shop are velcro-back bow-ties for babies.

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