Today’s retail sales report from the Commerce Department contained more good signs for the holiday shopping season, as consumers focus on small-ticket items.
Total retail sales were up 0.2 percent, as the categories of clothing, sporting goods and leisure, restaurants, general merchandise, online, grocery stores, and “miscellaneous” all had a strong month.
Gasoline was down 0.8 percent, due largely to lower prices. Furniture, home repair, and curiously, automobiles (despite a strong unit number) were weak categories.
Overall, the report shows consumers were spending at a pretty healthy pace, providing a good start to the holiday spending season. Consumers seem to be focusing on smaller purchases, both discretionary items and staples, that would be largely consistent with holiday shopping and entertaining.