Spending at small retailers in November picked up a percentage point since October, showing a 5.2 percent year-over-year improvement, according to a report from  MasterCard Advisors and Wells Fargo. This was enough to put its growth rate from October to November at 0.7 percent, more than the growth rate of total U.S. retail sales.       

The November report also found that when gasoline sales are removed, the year-over-year sales growth rate improved by 0.6 percent, rising to 5.8 percent, a considerable improvement over October’s  3.6 percent rate.  

“November sales were negatively impacted by weather events especially in the Northeast, however, across the country as a whole, smaller retailers showed a good rebound from the slowing growth in October,” said Michael McNamara, global solutions leader, MasterCard SpendingPulse.  “That said, November’s pick-up alone isn’t enough to stem the downward momentum in small business sales growth that we’ve been observing since February.”  

On a year-to-date basis, the sales growth rate excluding auto for small retailers is 7.1 percent from January through November 2012, compared with a 5.3 percent growth rate for retail overall during the same time period.

Marc Bernstein, head of Small Business for Wells Fargo noted, “At a time when surveys show small business owners expressing more concern about the year ahead, it’s a promising sign to see small retailer sales improve in November as the holiday shopping season gets underway. While the uncertainty in Washington may slow or reverse this growth, small retail businesses appear well positioned to improve sales at the end of the year.”

About MasterCard SpendingPulse for Small Business
Launched in July, 2012, the monthly report MasterCard SpendingPulse for Small Business, looks at retailers with less than $35 million in annual sales and less than 200 employees, a small percentage of which have more than $10 million in annual sales.  Each report includes information about current retail sales (excluding autos and gasoline), year-over-year growth in total retail sales (excluding automotive sales), as well as views with and without food services. In the U.S., small retailers account for over $100 billion in retail sales excluding automobiles per month.