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Retail spending in U.S. rose again in November, but short of expectations

Shoppers carry bags in New York City on Black Friday, November 26. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/151f4c99727f322102639415794cfd34/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Shoppers carry bags in New York City on Black Friday, November 26. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Retail spending in the United States rose for the fourth straight month in November, but at a slower clip than most economists predicted, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report Wednesday.

The report said retail spending increased by 0.3% in November, following growth in August, September and October.

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The increase, however, was well short of the 0.8% growth expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday's report also revised up October's growth, from 1.7% to 1.8% over September.

The numbers, which do not account for inflation, are better on a year-over-year basis. Retail purchases last month were 18.2% higher than they were in November in 2020.

Department stores saw the biggest decline in sales (5.4%), followed by electronics and appliance stores (4.6%).

At the other end, gas stations (1.7%) and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores saw the greatest gains (1.3%).

Wednesday's report said restaurants and bars experienced the largest year-over-year increase, at 37.4%.

"I see this more as a sign that Americans started their holiday shopping early, as opposed to bad news for retailers," creditcards.com analyst Ted Rossman told The Hill.

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"Even though November 2021 sales were only up 0.3% from October 2021, they were up 18.2% from November 2020. That year-over-year comparison is more significant, and it illustrates robust expansion."

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