NRF: Holiday Sales Finish Below Forecast
WASHINGTON-Total retail sales during the just-completed holiday season rose 3 percent to $579.8 billion, less than the forecasted rise of 4.1 percent from the National Retail Federation, according to a statement from the trade association.
NRF produced its tally after yesterday's report on December retail sales from the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed that total U.S. retail sales in December increased 0.5 percent from November and 4.7 percent from December 2011. The holiday-sales gain included an increase of 11.1 percent in "non-store" sales. Shop.org, NRF's digital retailing division, had predicted that online sales for the November-December holiday period would gain 12 percent.
Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said issues such as uncertainty about the economy and the fiscal cliff had a "visible impact" on shopping during the holidays. "We can't expect consumers to continue to carry the burden of growing our economy," Shay said. "Washington must put political differences aside and do what it takes to get our country growing again and Americans back to work."