US retail sales rose slightly in November

Washington (AFP) – US retail sales rose only slightly in November as spending on cars and online merchants flattened, according to government data released Wednesday.


Total sales increased just 0.3 percent, the Commerce Department reported, which was much smaller than economists expected and followed a nearly two percent jump the month prior.

Retail sales in November were 18.2 percent 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 percent compared to October and are up 52.3 percent 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 percent.

While purchases of clothing, food and building materials and spending at restaurants and bars all rose, sales of electronics and appliances dropped 4.6 percent, 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.

"US 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."