Despite an unforeseen number of adverse circumstances, holiday retail sales for 2015 eked out a 3% increase to $626.1 billion, according to Kathy Grannis Allen for National Retail Federation.
December retail sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, decreased 0.2 percent, seasonally adjusted from November, and increased 3.1 percent unadjusted on a year-over-year basis, according to the NRF.
An extreme deflationary retail environment, country-wide unforeseen weather conditions, inventory challenges, advances in consumer technology, and deep discounts that began early and carried into January presented difficult challenges to most retailers. Regardless, the retail industry rallied, customers responded, and sales still grew.
In looking forward, recent job gains and a healthier housing market, lifting income and earnings, are expected to provide support for spending in various retail sectors.