By Michelle Graff
Online and other non-store sales rose 10.5 percent year-over-year in the month of November, second only to the gains recorded by building materials and garden supply stores, the National Retail Federation said Thursday.
Washington--The National Retail Federation said Thursday the same thing jewelers have been reporting for the past month: it has been a good holiday season so far.

Retail sales in November were up less than 1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis when compared with October, but are up 6 percent year-over-year unadjusted.

Online sales are up nearly 11 percent year-over-year. (These sales figures exclude automobiles, gas and restaurants.)

In a news release, NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz called it “an impressive start to the holiday season, perhaps the best in a few years,” and said he expects the momentum to carry into next year.

“Today’s report is indicative of a strong consumer who is confident about the current and future state of the economy,” he said. “The improved willingness to spend and the purchasing power of consumers will continue to be an economic driver of growth into 2018.”

The NRF’s findings mirror the reports coming out of the jewelry industry so far this season.

Retailers interviewed by National Jeweler immediately after Black Friday weekend said their holiday season had gotten off to a solid start. (National Jeweler will do its second round of holiday check-in calls Monday.)

InStore reported Tuesday that sales have remained strong, noting that “2017 remains on course to be the best holiday season in a while,” and Centurion noted the same in the second week of its “Holiday Sales Success Index.”

Looking at the NRF’s data on a category-by-category basis, building materials and garden supply stores posted the greatest year-over-year gains in November at 11 percent, followed by online and other non-store sales (10.5 percent), and furniture and home furnishings stores (9 percent).

Clothing and accessories stores recorded a 5 percent year-over-year increase.

The NRF said the November results indicate that sales are on track to meet its expectations for the holiday season.

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