SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

December 12, 2013 12:54 ET

BMO Economics: November Retail Sales Bring Holiday Cheer

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Dec 12, 2013) - U.S. retail sales rose for the eighth straight month in November, increasing 0.7 percent and coming in slightly above expectations. Data for October was also revised upward to 0.6 percent from the previously stated 0.4 percent gain.

Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets, noted that sales excluding autos, which on its own shot up 1.8 percent, came in above consensus expectations.

"November brought its fair share of challenges, including severe storms and tornados that we saw tear through the Midwest, not to mention an atypically late Thanksgiving, so the numbers out today are welcome news," said Mr. Gregory. "It's entirely possible that the weather led shoppers to hunker down indoors, contributing to the 2.2 percent jump we saw in online shopping."

Despite overall positive numbers, clothing sales slipped for the first time in two months, and food and grocery store sales were down for the second consecutive month.

"Modest gains of 0.1 percent were seen in general merchandisers and sporting goods, which some may suggest is disappointing. However, we've seen solid growth in this category over the last few months, so no need for concern yet," said Mr. Gregory.

Total sales exclusive gas, autos and building permits, which feeds into GDP, rose a strong 0.6 percent, Mr. Gregory added.

"This growth, added to the 0.8 percent increase in October, bodes well for consumer spending in the fourth quarter and as a result, for GDP growth."

Contact Information