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NRF reports boost in November sales with start to holiday shopping season

Hurricane Sandy impacts various sectors

WASHINGTON — According to the National Retail Federation, eager holiday shoppers helped November retail sales — excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants — increase 0.8% seasonally adjusted from October and increase 4.4% unadjusted year-over-year. The NRF also expects holiday sales to grow 4.1% over the last holiday season.

"A successful Thanksgiving weekend for retailers and diminishing impacts in the Northeast due to Hurricane Sandy put retail sales back on track in November after tepid results in October," NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Though negotiations in Washington over the fiscal cliff could affect consumer confidence and spending in December, overall we are optimistic that we'll see solid sales growth this holiday season."

November retail sales, released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food service sales increased 0.3% seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 3.7% unadjusted year-over-year.

"Stable employment rates, lower gasoline prices and a recovering housing market have all contributed to a holiday shopping season that is on target to meet our original expectations," NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "American consumers are expected to spend cautiously as they monitor the situation in Washington and wrap up their holiday shopping lists."

Due to Superstorm Sandy, many retailers reported losses after forced store closures, while others — like home and building supply stores — witnessed spikes in sales due to recovery and rebuilding efforts. Those retailers' sales increased 1.6% seasonally-adjusted month-to-month.

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