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Holiday Sales Were Up, But Below NRF’s Guidance


U.S. retail holiday sales for the Nov. to Dec. timeframe rose 5.3 percent year-over-year to $936.3 billion, a figure that was below the National Retail Federation forecast that called for 6 to 8 percent growth. The trade group described the actual results as respectable given historic levels of inflation and rising interest rates. The increase also represented a stronger figure than the 10-year average growth of 4.9 percent. December retail sales were up 5 percent unadjusted year-over-year, but down 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from November.

“The pace of spending was choppy, and consumers may have pulled back more than we had hoped, but these numbers show that they navigated a challenging, inflation-driven environment reasonably well,” commented Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist. “The bottom line is that consumers are still engaged and shopping despite everything happening around them.”

For all of 2021, U.S. retail sales rose 7 percent to $4.9 billion, meeting the trade group’s annual growth forecast range of 6 to 8 percent.