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U.S. Jewelry Store Sales +15%

Department Store Sales Drop 4%

Dec 12, 2013 11:14 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. jewelry store sales rose 14.8 percent year on year in October to $2.512 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry during the month was basically flat or down just 0.4 percent. Jewelry store sales outperformed the jewelry sector as a whole, with preliminary jewelry and watch sales from all forms of retail recording a 5.5 percent increase in October. (Read full story.) 

Jewelry store sales for the first 10 months of 2013 rose 9.4 percent to $24.453 billion.

Meanwhile, department store sales in November, which kicked off the Christmas shopping season, fell 4.3 percent year on year to $17.47 billion. Department store sales have had a difficult year, falling 5 percent for the first 11 months of 2013 to $150 billion.  retail sales november

Retail sales for all product categories in November rose 4.7 percent year on year to $432.3 billion. Retail trade sales increased 4.6 percent year on year and nonstore retail sales improved 9.4 percent compared with November 2012.

November's retail sales overall were a little stronger than forecast, according to Sterne Agee's  chief economist, Lindsey Piegza.

Economists were bracing for  modest disappointment, which lowered the bar of expectations. ''As preliminary data showed, consumers were out spending in the weeks after Thanksgiving but not spending quite as much as last year. We continue to see consumers dramatically shift the goods in their basket from month to month, rather than simultaneous strength across all categories. Last month it was apparel, electronics and miscellaneous sales; this month its building materials and non-store retailer purchases. On an annual basis the consumer still appears to be losing momentum with growth falling from a peak of near 9 percent in 2011 and remaining stagnant for the past two years at an average of under 5 percent,'' Piegza noted.

Sterne Agee concluded that a temporary reprieve from high prices at the gasoline pump, a lingering wealth effect from rising home prices and record-high equity markets have helped support consumer confidence and consumer spending.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), November's store sales were consistent with its forecast of Christmas season retail growth of 3.9 percent.

“Consumers took advantage of a very promotional holiday season to shop at their favorite retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend,” said NRF's president, Matthew Shay. “Consumer confidence and sentiment are steadily improving, but spending remains at a modest pace. While it seems that the economy is improving, the future remains far from certain.”

Shay added that it was important for Congress  not to repeat earlier legislative mistakes that ultimately  stalled the economy. ''While the two-year budget framework eliminates the threat of another government shutdown, more work remains in order to provide businesses and retailers the confidence and certainty they need to hire workers and make strategic investment decisions. A continuation of political wrangling that dominated much of the year could easily hinder economic growth for the remainder of 2013 and beyond,'' Shay said.

NRF's chief economist, Jack Kleinhenz, observed that consumers have pent-up purchasing power and are willing to spend this Christmas season. ''Retailers will compete for each and every shopper and sale, and promotions and deals will continue throughout the month. Although this holiday season will remain challenging for some retailers, today’s sales report bodes well for a solid Christmas sales season and may provide the foundation for accelerating economic growth and momentum in the New Year,'' he concluded.

The NRF observed single-digit increases in store sales for building material and garden equipment, clothing and clothing accessories, electronics and appliances, furniture and home furnishings and sporting goods, hobby purchases, books and music.

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Tags: department stores, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, november, NRF, october, retail sales, stores
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