Data from the U.S. Commerce Department revealed that overall retail and food services sales reached $412.4 billion in November, a 0.3 percent increase, though sales in individual categories saw significant gains.
Auto sales contributed to the overall increase, with core sales increasing by 0.7 percent. Non-physical retailers saw significant gains in November, as sales rose three percent over the previous month to approximately three times their recent average. Furniture and home stores saw sales rise by one percent, and miscellaneous retailers saw a 1.4 percent increase in sales.
Electronics and appliance retailers also experienced strong growth, with sales rising 2.5 percent. Efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast but helped drive the 1.6 percent sales growth in building materials stores.
Gas retailers saw a four percent decline in sales in November, which was likely a direct result of falling gas prices. Sales also fell at general stores by 0.9 percent and sales at food and beverage stores fell by 0.3 percent.
Consumer spending accounts for as much as 70 percent of the U.S. economy, and retail sales represent approximately one-third of consumer spending.
“All in all, consumers are holding up reasonably well despite soft labor market conditions that are holding down growth in earnings and, in turn, personal income,” Richard Moody, the chief economist at Regions Financial Corp., said, according to MarketWatch.