Retail sales are continuing to gain momentum in time for the busiest shopping season of the year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), October retail sales in the GAFS category (general merchandise stores, clothing and clothing accessories stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, electronics and appliances stores, and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores) increased 6.2% from the same period last year and rose 1.1% month-to-month.
October retail sales released today by the U.S. Commerce Department show that total retail sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants) rose 0.2% seasonally adjusted for the month. Retail sales rose 5.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
“Stronger-than-expected job growth and a sharp drop in oil prices are setting the stage for solid holiday growth,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “Consumers are demonstrating their resiliency and continuing to reinforce our holiday forecast.”
Since September 22, NRF has forecast a 4.5% increase in holiday sales (defined as GAFS sales in the months of November and December). Consumers are expected to spend $220 billion this holiday season.
With the help of cooler weather and attractive fashions, apparel performed well in October, with sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rising a strong 7.4% unadjusted for the year and 3.0% seasonally adjusted month-to-month. Sales at general merchandise stores also rose by 7.7% unadjusted year-over-year and 0.9% adjusted month-to-month. Furniture and home furnishings stores posted a 1.7% increase unadjusted from the previous year and rose 0.3% from the prior month.