IBJNews

Retail sales rise more than expected

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Retail sales rose more than expected in November, boosting hopes that the all-important consumer sector will support the fragile recovery.

The government's report came as a surprise because the nation's retailers have been reporting generally lackluster results for the start of the holiday shopping season. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of overall economic activity.

But retail sales rose 1.3 percent last month, after a 1.1-percent October gain, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest advance since sales jumped 2.4 percent in August, and more than double the 0.6-percent increase economists had expected.

Excluding autos, retail sales rose 1.2 percent, triple the 0.4-percent advance economists expected.

A 6-percent surge in sales at service stations, partly reflecting higher gasoline prices, led the overall gain. But even excluding that jump, retail sales posted a respectable 0.8-percent rise in November.

Economists' general view has been that double-digit unemployment levels would keep consumers cautious in their spending and act as a drag on the economy as it struggles to emerge from the worst recession since the 1930s.

The November retail sales report showed that auto sales rose 1.6 percent, a solid performance after a 7.1-percent surge in October.

Sales at department stores increased 0.7 percent, and the broader category that includes big retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. posted a 0.8-percent increase.

Sales also jumped 2.8 percent at electronics and appliance stores, and 1.5 percent at hardware stores.

Sales did fall 0.7 percent at furniture stores, something of a surprise since analysts had expected the recent rebound in home sales to bolster demand for furniture.

After posting two straight gains following more than a year of declines, big chain retail stores earlier this month reported a dip in November sales. Those figures don't include Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, which no longer reports monthly sales.

But a diverse group of stores, including Macy's Inc., Saks Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Target, did post sharper-than-expected sales declines in November.

The overall economy rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the July-September quarter, the first increase after a record four straight declines. Analysts had forecast growth to sag a bit in the current quarter and the first half of 2010 because they expected consumer spending would weaken under the weight of 10 percent unemployment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

ADVERTISEMENT