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Retail Sales See Slight Rise in November

Retail Sales See Slight Rise in November

Dec. 15, 2021
Persistent supply shortages and elevated prices tempered consumers' willingness and ability to spend on goods.

As spending on cars, as well as other online spending, dipped, U.S. retail sales rose only slightly in November, according to a report released by the Department of Commerce on Dec. 15.

Total sales increased just 0.3%, which was much smaller than economists expected and followed a nearly 2% jump the month prior.

Retail sales in November were 18.2% higher than a year earlier, as shoppers flush with savings rushed to buy goods even as shipping snags pushed prices higher.

Rising gas prices continue to hit American wallets, and sales at gasoline stations jumped 1.7% compared to October and are up 52.3% from November 2020, the report said. Still, that was a smaller rise than the prior two months. Excluding gasoline, total sales rose just 0.1%.

While purchases of clothing, food and building materials and spending at restaurants and bars all rose, sales of electronics and appliances dropped 4.6%, and health care and general merchandise also dipped.

It was a soft start to the holiday shopping season, and Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics noted that if adjusted for inflation in the month, sales actually fell. "U.S. consumers spent at a moderate clip in November as persistent supply shortages and elevated prices tempered consumers' willingness and ability to spend on goods," Daco said.

He noted that with the rising Covid-19 case count, "Renewed health concerns limited spending at restaurants and bars."

Copyright 2021, Agence France-Presse

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