December retail gross sales are combined to finish 2022, notes Commerce and NRF


United States retail sales, for the month of December, were mixed to end 2022, according to data respectively issued by the United States Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Commerce reported that December retail sales—at $677.1 billion—fell 1.1% compared to November, while posting a 6.0% annual gain. And it noted that total 2022 retail sales saw a 9.2% annual increase, with total sales, from October through December rose 6.7% annually.

December retail trade sales fell 1.2%, from November to December, and were up 5.2% annually. Nonstore retailers, which includes e-commerce, saw a 13.7% annual gain, and food services and drinking places rose 12.1% annually.

NRF reported that December retail sales were off 0.6% on seasonally-adjusted basis compared to November and were up 5% on an unadjusted basis annually. These numbers were largely in line with November, which saw a 0.5% sequential decline, following what NRF called a surge of early holiday shopping in October, and were up 5.6% annually. What’s more, NRF said that retail sales increased 5.6% annually on a three-month moving average through December.

Holiday season retail sales, which NRF declines as total sales in November and December and do not include sales from automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants to focus on core retail, saw a 5.3% annual gain, coming in at $936.3 billion, coming up short of its initial forecast of a 6%-to-8% increase, at $942.6 billion-to-$960.4 billion. And it added that 2022’s increase matches up with 4.9% average holiday sales growth over the last 10 years.

Holiday season online and other non-store sales headed up 9.5%, to $261.6 billion compared to 2021’s $238.9 billion), shy of its forecasted 10%-to-12% annual increase, to between $262.8 billion and $267.6 billion.

“We knew it could be touch-and-go for final holiday sales given early shopping in October that likely pulled some sales forward plus price pressures and cold, stormy weather,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a statement. “The pace of spending was choppy, and consumers may have pulled back more than we had hoped, but these numbers show that they navigated a challenging, inflation-driven environment reasonably well. The bottom line is that consumers are still engaged and shopping despite everything happening around them.”

Holiday season retail sales saw annual gains in all but two of nine retail categories listed below:

-Online and other non-store sales were up 9.5%;
-Grocery and beverage stores were up 7.8%;
-General merchandise stores were up 3.8%;
-Sporting goods stores were up 3.5%;
-Health and personal care stores were up 2.8%;
-Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 2.2%;
-Building materials and garden supply stores were up 1.5%;
-Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.1%; and
-Electronics and appliance stores were down 5.7%

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