Just released U.S. Commerce Dept. numbers show retail sales ending their monthly sales gain streak that began last spring. The decrease from October to November was just 1%, but it’s reflective of renewed business shutdowns and less shoppers in stores as Covid cases are on the rise. There were some retail category winners, such as groceries, building materials, and no surprise—online. Interestingly, November retail sales were up 4% from the same period last year. All eyes are now on the federal stimulus package being discussed by Congressional leaders.
The following excerpt from a Wall St. Journal article reports more on the topic:
The holiday shopping season got off to a muted start as U.S. consumers reined in November spending amid a surge in coronavirus infections and new business restrictions in some states.
U.S. retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in November from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. October sales were revised to a decline of 0.1% from an earlier estimate of a 0.3% increase. Sales were up by 4.1% in November when compared with the same month a year ago.
The November and October drops marked the end of several months of growth in retail spending after sharp declines earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic triggered widespread business closures.
The retail sales report is the latest reading on the U.S. economy to suggest the recovery continues but is slowing after a burst of growth over the summer.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group