NATIONAL NEWS

Retail sales up 0.3% in November, showing how Americans continue to spend

Dec 14, 2023, 5:46 AM

A woman carrying a shopping bag passes Macy's department store in Herald Square, Monday, Dec. 11, 2...

A woman carrying a shopping bag passes Macy's department store in Herald Square, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, in New York. On Thursday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for November. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans picked up their spending from October to November as the unofficial holiday season kicked off, underscoring that shoppers still have power to keep buying.

Retail sales rose 0.3%, in November from October, when sales were down a revised 0.2% according to the Commerce Department on Thursday. That is a little stronger than expected. Excluding car and gas sales, sales were up 0.6%.

At restaurants, business rose 1.6%., while sales at furniture stores rose 0.9%. Online sales rose 1%. Electronic and appliance sales, however, were down 1.1% Sales at department stores fell 2.5%. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.

The urge to spend for Americans appears to have some running room, even after a blowout summer. Consumer spending jumped in the July-September quarter.

U.S. employment data last week showed that employers added 199,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate declined to 3.7%. Inflation has plummeted in little over a year from a troubling 9.1%, to 3.2%. While that’s still above the desired level, the economy by most counts is likely to avoid the recession many economists had feared, a potential side effect of U.S. attempts to cool inflation.

Yet people remain gloomy, according to the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment. The preliminary December figures issued Friday showed moods have improved as more people see inflation cooling.

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Retail sales up 0.3% in November, showing how Americans continue to spend