Holiday Retail Sales Rise 4% To Beat NRF Expectations

By Tonya Garcia Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Retail sales for November and December increased 4% year-over-year to $658.3 billion, according to the latest numbers from the National Retail Federation. The final tally includes $122.9 billion from non-store sales, which includes e-commerce. Non-store sales were up 12.6% from 2015. The overall total exceeds the NRF's forecast of $655.8 billion, which would have been an increase of 3.6%. The organization forecast a 7% to 10% increase in online sales to $117.0 billion. A number of department store retailers like Macy's Inc. and Kohl's Corp. have issued profit warnings for the holiday season. Sales at department stores were down 7% adjusted year-over-year while clothing and accessories stores increased 2.5%, furniture and home furnishings stores saw a 4.8% increase, and food and beverage stores saw sales increase 3.6%.

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