Retail sales increase in November, says Commerce Dept.

Retail sales increased in November The holiday spending season started off with a bang in 2009, as new figures on retail spending during the month of November show substantial increases in sales that surpassed many experts’ expectations, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau.

According to the monthly sales for retail trade and food services report released on Friday, seasonally adjusted U.S. retail and food services sales for November increased by 1.3 percent to $352.1 billion from October’s figures.

"The major area of concern in the economy has been the consumer, and so far things have been holding together better than almost anyone thought," said Pierre Ellis, a senior economist at Decision Economics, according to Reuters. "You are likely to see Q4 (gross domestic product) forecasts start to be marked up."

The figures also represented a 1.9 percent increase over November 2008’s figures, despite a 2.1 percent drop in sales from September through November compared to the previous year’s figures.
In regard to retail sales, figures jumped 1.4 percent from the previous month and 2.2 percent November 2008 figures.

The figures would seem to support the litany of reports this season that have found consumer who had been consolidating debt for much of 2009 opening up their wallets and spending more freely during the holidays.