Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Holiday Retail Sales

As noted in my earlier posts this month (Here) ( And Here), despite the doom and gloom this holiday season was shaping up to be, well, very merry. And now, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas........

Outlook for Holiday Shopping Improves With Big November Retail Gains

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The holiday shopping season may not be so bad after all. Consumers came surging back into stores in November, revving retail sales at the fastest pace in four months. The 1 percent increase reported by the Commerce Department on Wednesday was far above the 0.1 percent rise that many analysts had expected.

In another encouraging sign, the government revised the October sales performance to show a 0.1 percent decline rather than the 0.4 percent drop originally reported.

The November rebound was surprising given anecdotal evidence from retailers that sales had tapered off following a strong weekend after Thanksgiving.

"No matter what the retailers may be saying, it appears that consumers have taken out their wallets so far this holiday season," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors, a private consulting firm.

The November gains were widespread, led by a 4.6 percent surge at electronics and appliance stores. That increase is attributed in part to the introduction of sought-after video game consoles such as Sony's Playstation 3 and Nintendo's Wii.

"Once again, the reports of the death of the U.S. consumer have been greatly exaggerated. This holiday season might be decent after all," said Michael Gregory, an economist at BMO Capital Markets............"

By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

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