2014 Holiday Retail Sales reported to be the best since 2011

On Wednesday, the National Retail Federation shared that despite weaker than expected results in December, holiday retail sales last year increased 4% compared with 2013. Since 2011, it is considered to be the biggest increase.

The Department of Commerce statistics has revealed the biggest month-to-month decline in December sales since 2008. As per economists, the decline in December was majorly due to seasonal adjustments that the Commerce Department does in order to reduce the holiday’s impact on monthly results.

“December is a very difficult month to adjust for seasonal forces because of holiday spending, and this could explain in part this month's volatility”, said Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the retail federation.

It is said that the significant decline in gasoline prices during this month has also made adjustments more difficult. The 4% gain was very close to the retail federation’s pre-holiday forecast of a 4.1% gain. The federation said that it was waiting that the Department of Commerce reveals its monthly report on December sales and then it will issue its take on the season.

As per the department, total retail sales declined 0.9% from November, but increased 3.2% from December 2013. General merchandise shopping declined 0.9% from November, but increased 4.6% year-over-year.

The International Council of Shopping Centers announced that shopping center sales have increased 3.5% in December compared with December 2013. Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer, said that the results of the holiday retail sales proved to be welcoming news for the nation’s industry and for the economy.

Shay affirmed that now they have all the reasons to believe that they have been able to surpass the days of consumer pessimism and things seems to be bright for retailers. Kleinhenz said that December’s figure is disappointing, but holiday sales in 2014 are the best they have seen since 2011.