Just days after the NPD Group reported that holiday retail sales were flat, the National Retail Federation (NRF) says that sales grew 4.1% compared to the 2018 season. Total sales were $730.2 billion, the NRF says. Online and other non-store sales rose 14.6%, according to the report.
“Having spent the last week with top retail leaders from around the world at our annual convention, and spending time at the White House yesterday with government policymakers and economists, these numbers validate continued optimism for increased investment and opportunity in the retail industry,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “This is a consumer-driven economy, and by any measure, the consumer has put the economy in a solid position for continued growth. This is a strong finish to the holiday season, and we think it’s a positive indicator of what’s ahead.”
The NRF previously reported that consumers were expected to spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4% from last.
“This was a healthy holiday season, especially compared with the decline in retail sales we saw at the end of the season in 2018,” says NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Despite a late Thanksgiving and worries about tariffs, the consumer didn’t go away. We’ve had months of strong employment numbers, high wages, and strong household balance sheets. There’s no doubt that gave consumers a sense of confidence about their ability to spend, and they did their part to keep the economy moving.”
Despite the positive report from NRF, there have been conflicting reports coming in from retailers this month. Target, GameStop, Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Macy’s all reported less-than-stellar holiday season results.