November retail sales came in better-than-forecasts, confirming that lower prices at the pump are helping boost consumer spending as the economic recovery continues. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Happy holidays retailers. November sales were up 0.7 percent- the core rate-which takes out things like cars and gas, was up 0.6 percent- better than forecasts. It's a relief- initial reports on Black Friday weren't great- but monthly data shows- the buying was just more spread out: Michael Londrigan, dean of academic affairs at LIM College: SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL LONDRIGAN, DEAN OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, LIM COLLEGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think what has happened is the consumer has started shopping earlier they are buying for themselves early on and then they are doing their gift shopping early on and then they are doing their gift shopping a little bit later in the season. " But customers shopped early because they got deals early- and that boost to the top line- could hit the bottom line later on. Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. SOUNDBITE: WENDY LIEBMANN, CEO, WSL STRATEGIC RETAIL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It is a worry now that the deals have been so deep, you know 30,40,50 even 60 percent off and how that will stretch itself. I think retailers will now take a breath for a minute because the numbers were ok and they will be not giving away the store quite yet but we've got 3 weeks to go or 2 weeks to go and that means there is a lot of nervousness so I worry about profitability over the longer haul for the holidays. " As for the rest of the season? Thomson Reuters Director of Consumer Research, Jharonne Martis: SOUNDBITE: JHARONNE MARTIS, DIRECTOR OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, THOMSON REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The weather is definitely cooperating. We are not seeing the bad weather like we saw last year. which means that retailers are not desperate to move that inventory so that means that margins will be better this year compared to last." And that's good news for the broader economy- because consumer spending is about 2/3rd of U.S. economic activity.