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Nov. CE/Majap Sales Tepid

12/14/2010 02:27:48 PM Eastern

Washington - Sales at CE
and appliance stores rose less than 1 percent in November according to
the U.S. Commerce Department's monthly retail sales report.

Sector sales edged up 0.9 percent year over year, but slipped 0.6
percent from October, making it the second weakest-performing specialty channel
before home furnishings.

The results partly reflect lower same-store sales at Best Buy,
which is weighted heavily in the Commerce Department data. Figures were
adjusted for calendar variations but not for changes in price.

In contrast, total retail sales excluding restaurants, gas
stations and car dealerships rose 6.8 percent unadjusted over last year, led by strong
gains in the sporting goods, hobby, book and music, apparel and department
store sectors.

The
solid overall results, plus improvement in a variety of economic indicators
including stock market gains, recent income growth, and savings built up during
the recession, led the National Retail Federation (NRF) to up its holiday sales
forecast from 2.3 percent to 3.3 for the months of November and December.

"The
start to the holiday season has surpassed all expectations," said NRF
president/CEO Matthew Shay. "While employment data is still a concern, we are
starting to see improvement in other economic indicators that support an
increase to our forecast."

NRF
chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said the November figures point to pent-up
demand and increasing consumer confidence. "Consumers have not been suffering
from a lack of spending power, they've just been missing the confidence to use
it," he noted. "With noticeable improvement in key economic indicators combined
with great deals on merchandise, consumers have certainly shown they shouldn't
be counted out this holiday season."

Shay
added that there needs to be a renewed focus on job creation in 2011 in order
to sustain the momentum for retailers and the U.S. economy.

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