U.S. retail sales grew by a much stronger-than-expected pace last month, the Commerce Department said Friday, with purchases fueled by falling gas prices and booming consumer sentiment amid a record Black Friday to Cyber Monday shopping period.
Core retail sales, which exclude volatile components such as auto and gasoline sales, rose 0.9% in November from the same period last year, while the October reading was revised higher, to 0.7%. Headline retails sales matched the consensus estimate of a 0.2% year-on-year gain, slower than October's revised 1.1% but still solid when set against the robust pre-Christmas spending patterns of November.
"This is a great start to the holiday season, and the control measure - the best predictor of consumers' spending on non-durable goods in the GDP accounts - is set for a hefty 6% nominal annualized Q4 gain, accelerating from 3.9% in Q3," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Economics. "The kick from the tax cuts is gone, but the huge and rapid drop in retail gas prices is freeing a great deal of cash at just the right time for retailers."
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.64% higher on the session at 97.69, extending its weekly advance to the strongest in more than two months.
U.S. gas prices fell more than 13% across the month of November, according to GasBuddy.com, in concert with the broader slump in global crude oil prices driven in part by record production rates from domestic drillers.
Amazon Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report said last month that this year's 'Cyber Monday' was the biggest single-day shopping event in the company's history, adding that consumers purchased more than 180 million items across its global platform during the five-days that began on the Thanksgiving holiday.
November data last month from Adobe Analytics suggested that Cyber Monday generated an all-time high $7.9 billion in sales for U.S. retailers, a near 20% increase from last year's total, while the first two days of the holiday shopping season, which started with Black Friday, generated $10 billion in sales.