Holiday sales in 2015 increased 3 percent to $626,140 billion, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This is solid growth considering weather events across the country and economic deflation in the retail environment. Non-store holiday sales grew 9 percent to $105 billion.
December retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from November and increased 3.1 percent unadjusted on a year-over-year basis.
“Make no mistake about it, this was a tough holiday season for the industry. Weather, inventory challenges, advances in consumer technology and the deep discounts that started earlier in the season and that have carried into January presented stiff headwinds as retailers competed with one another and their own bottom line,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Despite these factors, the industry rallied, consumers responded and sales still grew at a healthy rate, which is a huge testament to the resilience, knowledge and expertise of our retail leadership.”
In the press release, Shay continued on and stated that this holiday season proved once again that the industry can quickly and successfully respond to a challenging sales environment and achieve continued year-over-year growth.
Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist, said, “A double whammy of deflation and December weather constricted holiday sales growth as well as consumer spending. The results of December’s retail sales remind us just how significant of an impact unusual weather can have on retail and overall economic activity.”
The timing is still uncertain but NRF representatives also noted that there are positive prospects for improvement including recent job gains that will help lift income and earnings, and a healthy housing market that should provide some support for spending in various retail sectors.”
The U.S. Commerce Department said that December retail sales decreased 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and increased 2.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year.