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12/16/2020

Food and Beverage Sales Decline in November

Food and Beverage Sales Decline in November
U.S. retail sales declined 1.1% in November compared to the previous month.

U.S. retail sales declined 1.1% in November compared to the previous month, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau — though sales increased 4.1% year over year.

Food and beverage sales decreased 17.2% in November compared to the previous month in 2019, however.

“Consumers held back on spending in November as virus rates spiked, states imposed retail restrictions and congressional stimulus discussions were gridlocked,” National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “While consumers have been bolstered by increases in disposable income and savings, it’s clear that additional fiscal stimulus from Congress is needed and we are hopeful it will be passed soon as we enter the final stretch of the holiday season. With retail sales up 8.8% versus Nov. 2019, we still expect a strong holiday season compared with last year.”

NRF has forecast that holiday sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019 to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. While NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, NRF research shows 42% of consumers started holiday shopping sooner than usual this year after NRF urged the public to shop safe and shop early. On average, consumers had about half their holiday shopping left to do as of Thanksgiving weekend.

Specifics from key retail sectors during November include:

  • Grocery and beverage stores were up 1.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 8.5% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Building materials and garden supply stores were up 1.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 17.2% unadjusted year-over-year.
  • Online and other non-store sales were up 0.2% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 30% unadjusted year over year.
  • Sporting goods stores were down 0.6% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 14% unadjusted year over year.
  • Health and personal care stores were down 0.7% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 2.6% unadjusted year over year.
  • General merchandise stores were down 1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 1% unadjusted year over year.
  • Furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.1% month-over-month seasonally adjusted but up 0.4% unadjusted year over year.
  • Electronics and appliance stores were down 3.5% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 9.9% unadjusted year over year.
  • Clothing and clothing accessory stores were down 6.8% month-over-month seasonally adjusted and down 19.2% unadjusted year over year.

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