November’s Retail Sales Research Notes

by Jim Baird on December 14, 2010

The continued improvement in retail sales is indicative of a consumer that continues to gradually rebuild their confidence that was shattered by the credit crisis.

This increase, which was well above expectations, shows us that consumers are continuing to ramp up their spending and are happy to head back to stores in the midst of the holiday shopping season that is so critical for retailers.

Compared to a year ago, the results are very encouraging.  A year-over-year increase in retail sales of nearly 8% is very good, particularly against a backdrop of low inflation.

Retailers made a push to offer pre-holiday shopping deals to encourage consumers to get out and buy before the traditional Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season.  It appears that strategy may have worked, but it’s too early to determine the degree to which those sales were merely pulled forward from December compared to prior years.

Consumer sentiment recently reached a 6-month high, a timely development for retailers hoping for a successful holiday shopping season.  As we head into the home stretch for spending, it appears that hope will be realized.

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