By Michelle Graff
Washington--Despite the fact that the holiday shopping season is shorter and retailers were offering big promotions, consumers spending increased only slightly in the month of November, National Retail Federation data shows.

The NRF reports that November retail sales--excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants--increased nearly 1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month, and 4 percent unadjusted year-over-year.

The monthly sales report for November is consistent with the NRF’s sales forecast of nearly 4 percent growth for this holiday season, the organization said.

“Consumers took advantage of a very promotional holiday season to shop at their favorite retailers during the Thanksgiving weekend,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumer confidence and sentiment are steadily improving, but spending remains at a modest pace. While it seems that the economy is improving, the future remains far from certain.”

The NRF also found that, adjusted month-to-month, general merchandise stores’ sales were nearly flat in November, and that furniture and home furnishing stores’ and electronics and appliance stores’ sales all rose 1 percent during the month.

Non-store retail sales increased by 2 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month.

The U.S. Census Bureau also released data for November retail sales, which includes automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, reporting that they were up 1 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 5 percent adjusted year-over-year.

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