October retail sales were higher than predicted across the board, a positive sign for retailers heading into the holiday season, the National Retail Federation reports, as sales increased 0.7% from September and 4.7% over October 2010. Data released today by the U.S. Commerce Department showed total retail sales increased 6.7% unadjusted year-over-year. According to the Wall Street Journal, economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had only forecasted a 0.1% increase in October.
In addition, U.S. wholesale prices in October fell at the fastest monthly pace since February 2010, with the producer price index dropping a seasonally adjusted 0.3% from a month earlier. Consumer confidence continues to rise, as Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary gauge of consumer confidence taken last week improved to 64.2 for November, up from 60.9 in October.
Great Sign For Holiday Sales
“October retail sales support the assertion that consumers have a distinct desire to spend, bolstering hopes for solid sales growth in November and December,” said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist, NRF. “This momentum bodes well for the upcoming holiday season.”
Last week, the NRF reported that holiday retail sales are expected to increase 2.8%, to $465.6 billion, for the 2011 season compared to the previous year. The report notes that 14 consecutive months of retail sales growth and a reduction in household debt will be a positive development for anticipated holiday spending, but uncertainty over the stock market, increased fuel and food prices, and limited job growth will keep the increase shy of the 5.2% bump retailers experienced in 2010.
The potential positive for flea market vendors is that during tough economic times, consumers shop in more locations looking for the best deal, and the NRF notes that nearly every type of store is seeing an increase in foot traffic. When shoppers are looking to spend less money, the quality merchandise and low prices that the local flea market vendor provides are a great attraction.