December alone was up 0.4% seasonally adjusted from November and up 4.6% unadjusted year-over-year.
For example, after warning of a tough holiday Target reported that same-store sales in November and December grew 3.4%, Nordstrom said that net sales rose 2.5% and same-store sales rose 1.2% in that period, and teen apparel retailer American Eagle beat forecasts with a same-store holiday sales rise of 8%.
Government statisticians said retail sales rose 0.4 percent in December, following a 0.9 percent surge in November. Consumer spending, which makes up for over two-thirds of US economic activity, increased at a 2.2 percent annualized rate for the third quarter.
Compared to the same month a year ago, retail sales were up by 5.4% in December, reflecting a deceleration from the 6.0% year-over-year growth in November.
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The so-called retail sales control group grew by 0.3% on the month, which was one tenth of a percentage point less than anticipated.
GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders cited these factors: Consumer confidence at 17-year highs, steady wage growth of about 3 percent, the booming stock market, and the robust housing sector.
For the whole 2017, retail sales jumped 4.2 percent from 2016, the strongest growth since 2014. December e-commerce sales rose 1.2% from November and 12.7% from December 2016, according to the report.
Ebullient U.S. consumers shopped at the healthiest pace in more than a decade during the holiday season, a sign of burgeoning economic strength.
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Jeremy Andrus, chief executive officer at Traeger Grills, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based maker of wood pellet grills, said Traeger's fastest-selling grill shifted from an $800 model to a $1,000 model this holiday season as consumers showed a willingness to reach deeper into their pockets. It's a key gauge for the economy, which derives about two-thirds of its output from consumer spending. Fluctuations in sales often reflect changes in gas prices, not volume.
Sales gains weren't evenly distributed in December, according to First Data's SpendTrend.
On the other hand, the report showed steep drops in sales by miscellaneous store retailers, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, and department stores.
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