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WASHINGTON — With just days left before the holiday shopping season draws to a close, the National Retail Federation has increased its forecast as the economic environment gives way to increased consumer spending.
November retail industry sales — which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — increased 0.8% seasonally adjusted over October, and 6.8% unadjusted over last year, NRF said. What's more, there were solid retail gains across all sectors, including health and personal care stores, with sales increasing by 0.9% seasonally adjusted over last October, and 7.3% unadjusted over last year. For this holiday season, NRF said it adjusted its forecast to 3.3%, up 1% from its original outlook.
“The start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “While employment data is still a concern, we are starting to see improvement in other economic indicators that support an increase to our forecast. In order to sustain this momentum for retailers and the U.S. economy, there must be a renewed focus on jobs as we enter the new year.”