Consumers continue to spend, but that doesn't mean that all retailers are benefiting. Retail sales rose 0.4% on a sequential basis in November, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Thursday. That was a larger-than-expected increase and up from flat sequential growth in October. While that may be good news for the economy in general and for retailers as a whole, don't expect owners of department stores, apparel outlets or sporting goods shops to jump up and shout. Each one of those groups of retailers posted sequential declines last month, according to the Census Bureau. The new figures reflect the mixed same-store sales numbers that retailers released last week. In contrast to department and apparel stores, other retailers did well last month. Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores, building materials and garden supply stores, and mail-order and online retailers each rose by more than 1% sequentially in November. Though sales may pick up in December with the holiday shopping season in full swing, some are projecting that retail sales for department, apparel and electronics stores -- the biggest traditional beneficiaries of holiday spending -- will continue to be weak. "Our projection is that holiday sales will be soft, softer than retailers are projecting," said Kevin Regan, senior managing director of FTI Consulting. "We're not inclined to think we are off our mark." Regan and others blame the soft sales for such retailers on the shortened holiday shopping season, rising unemployment and risk-averse companies. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, came one week later than normal this year. That meant that November this year had just two days of holiday shopping, compared with eight days last year. In explaining their disappointing same-store sales numbers for November, many retailers cited the shortened holiday shopping time for the month.