Consuming Interests: Shoppers are spending their money this holiday season

From The Consuming Interests blog:

All you big spenders out there are making retailers very happy this holiday season.

So much so that the National Retail Federation is raising its sales outlook for the season.

The trade group said that it is revising its forecast to 3.3 percent, up from 2.3 percent.

Improvement in several economic indicators prompted NRF to issue the better forecast. Stock market gains, recent income growth and savings built up during the recession are all giving consumers better capacity to spend, the group said in a press release.

November retail sales - which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants - increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted over October and 6.8 percent unadjusted over last year, according to NRF tracking.

“The start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “While employment data is still a concern, we are starting to see improvement in other economic indicators that support an increase to our forecast. In order to sustain this momentum for retailers and the U.S. economy, there must be a renewed focus on jobs as we enter the new year.”

“Consumers have not been suffering from a lack of spending power, they’ve just been missing the confidence to use it,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “With noticeable improvement in key economic indicators combined with great deals on merchandise, consumers have certainly shown they shouldn’t be counted out this holiday season.”

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