Yesterday the Census Bureau released its report on retail sales for the month of November, giving us our first concrete look at how this holiday shopping season is going. And the numbers are actually fairly encouraging. Retail and food service sales were up 0.8 percent over October, and 7.9 percent over November of 2009.
If you take a step back, the picture still looks good. We had that increase in sales between October and November even though, at the same time these figures were released, October's sales figures were revised upward as well. All told, retail sales from September through November of this year increased 7.8 percent from the same period a year ago.
Taking the first eleven months of 2010 as a whole, retail sales are up 6.5 percent over the same time frame for 2009. Some of the retail industries leading that growth are motor vehicle dealers (up 10.7 percent), building material and gardening equipment (up 6.0 percent) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (up 5.2 percent).