U.S. holiday spending surges to 12-year high, helped by tax cuts

Low unemployment and high consumer confidence helped deliver a gift to retailers this holiday; record high spending. Here’s a look at the current climate and expectations for the rest of 2017.

U.S. holiday spending jumped 5.5 percent – its biggest gain since 2005 – spurred by stronger employment, rising consumer confidence and expectations of higher wages and bonuses after the recent tax bill, the National Retail Federation said on Friday.

Sales in November and December rose to $691.9 billion, compared with $655.8 billion the previous year, excluding sales at restaurants, automobile dealers and gasoline stations. The NRF previously forecast sales would rise 3.6 to 4 percent for the period. Holiday sales can account for up to 40 percent of annual sales for some stores.

While strong sales were widely expected, many retailers were particularly hungry to prove themselves this past holiday season, following a year marred by…

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